Each summer Oxford’s vibrant music scene reaches its celebratory crescendo at a small farm in Steventon; bringing together the city’s best bands as well as some of the best upcoming artists from around the world. This year Truck Festival was 14 years old and boasted a line-up to be very proud of indeed. Oxford’s own music scene has been enjoying a particularly impressive creative burst of energy of late, and Friday at Truck 14 began with a triumphant gala of all which makes Oxford great!
The Last FM Tent was hosted by BBC Introducing in Oxford, showcasing the very best this fine city has to offer, from math-rock, shoegaze even a little bit of hip-hop, there was truly something for everyone. The Clash Tent was curated by Transgressive Records and, despite their being no performances from either Foals or The Antlers (gutted), displayed just how impressive their current roster is with Graham Coxon being the undoubted “big-name” on Friday’s line-up.
Instead of scrolling through reams and reams of heavy text, our live reviews feature a set highlight and (with this being Truck 14 and all) and 14 word summary. Enjoy and check into One Note Forever tomorrow for our review of Truck Festival Saturday.
Marcus Foster – Main Stage, 17:30
Set Highlight: ‘Movement’ with its beautifully crafted lyrics and mental guitar solo.
Truck 14-word Summary: Marcus’ ability to play to such a high standard despite being worse-for-wear was admirable. CM
Mr Shaodow – Last FM Tent, 18:00
Highlight: The first mosh of the weekend and Shaodow’s famous kung fu moves.
Summary: Oxford and Truck’s favourite rapper spitting fiery, craftily worked sentences set the tent alight. CM
Pete Molinari – Main Stage, 18:30
Highlight: Hmm, musical highlights were scarce, so maybe the enthusiastic 3 year old in front of us, dancing along to every song.
Summary: Perhaps more suited as background music in an American diner than an Oxfordshire festival. CC
Listing Ships – Last FM Tent, 18:45
Highlight: The ascent of the louder tracks, which hinted at the pro band lurking beneath.
Summary: Epic local shoegaze who effortlessly stand out with a confident and ambitious live sound. JO
Admiral Fallow – Main Stage, 19:40
Highlight: ‘Subbuteo’ was the only song that really shone.
Summary: Any hint of a Scottish accent has me but I wasn’t overly impressed today. CM
Peggy Sue – Clash Tent, 19:10
Highlight: To my whisky fueled self, Rosa Rex’s guitar with dinosaur stickers was my highlight but in hindsight it was Katy Klaw’s accordion mastery.
Summary: Set of the weekend from a band elusively difficult to see live until now. CM
Liam Finn – Clash Tent, 20:10
Highlight: The double drum kit action summed up the band’s willingness to “rock out”.
Summary: Driving guitar lines, tight percussion, provided an early contender for set of the weekend. TJ
Gunning For Tamar – Last FM Tent, 20:20
Highlight: Their ever tight rhythm section.
Summary: Great set from local math-rock pioneers, showcasing new material along with some old favourites. CC
The Duke & The King – Main Stage, 20:45
Highlight: Nowell Haskins’ soulful voice and Simon Felice’s hilarious level of drunkenness.
Summary: Instrument swapping left, right and centre made for an extraordinary show full of surprises. CM
Johnny Flynn – Clash Tent, 21:30
Highlight: Triumphant ending in a mass crowd sing-along to Tickle Me Pink.
Summary: I’m envious of the female swooning he evokes but his set was tediously robotic. CC/CM
Bellowhead – Main Stage, 22:15
Highlight: A set full of flawless performances ended with a Herculean rendition of ‘New York Girls’.
Summary: The best live band on the planet? No way, but bloody good fun nonetheless. TJ
Spring Offensive – Last FM Tent, 23:00
Highlight: Collective band ‘epileptic fit’ during the outro of last song Every Coin
Summary: Impressive and varied set from the Oxford favourites, led by an uncharacteristically charismatic frontman. CC
Graham Coxon – Clash Tent, 23:30
Highlight: ‘Freakin’ Out’, an absolute forgotten gem.
Summary: Disappointing set from the Blur guitarist, the music was solid, but the delivery impersonal. JO/CC
Words by Tom Jowett, Jack Olchawksi, Callum McCulloch and Caroline Corke. Photography by Pooneh Ghana, Andrew Kendall, Carolina Faruolo and Louise Roberts.