Welcome to a rundown of what I reckon will be the highlights of the UK’s best small festival.
5. Black Peaks (Main Stage)
If the phenomenal facial hair of frontman, Will Gardner, isn’t enough to convince you on Black Peaks, then wait until you hear them rip into their set. Peaks’ first album, Statues, was a debut of phenomenal quality and a demonstration of clear promise. The release showcases angular guitar parts with a thunderous rhythm section, all accompanied with extraordinary vocals that effortlessly flit between airily soothing and utterly raucous. These factors all translate flawlessly into their live show which determines that we, as an audience, will not only be treated to an adrenaline-fuelled riot, but also a technical demonstration of the way music should be played.
You have to hear: Set In Stone. Glass Built Castles. Saviour.
For fans of: Arcane Roots. letlive. Reuben.
4. Dinosaur Pile-Up (Main Stage)
Balls out. Rock and roll. This 3-piece powerhouse hailing from Leeds will make absolutely sure to shake the earth by forcing everyone off their feet. Mammoth riffs and huge choruses will carry through the entirety of Dinosaur Pile-Up’s set, ensuring that energy levels never drop. With three impressive albums already under their belt, there will be no shortage of material here and, rest assured, the quality of each track is guaranteed to possess the quality of a seasoned and certified rock outfit. Whether it’s thanks to nature or nurture – DPU will inevitably impress.
You have to hear: Traynor. Arizona Waiting. Anxiety Trip.
For fans of: Pulled Apart By Horses. Nirvana. The Xcerts.
3. The Wonder Years (The Cave)
A (welcome) surprise addition to the lineup of a largely underground British music festival, this cult, Pennsylvanian pop-punk quintet is bound to bring a new dynamic and a further audience to 2000 Trees. The Wonder Years are a perfect example of the way in which emotion and energy can collaborate in order to produce art that is both definitively enjoyable and fundamentally important. Powerful lyrics penned by frontman, Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell, are evocatively preached onto an audience of disciples who will, more often than not, be roaring the words back toward their author. This set will be exhausting – it becomes very taxing to constantly bounce in unison with a crowd whilst straining to sing at the same pace/enthusiasm displayed by Soupy – but it’ll be worth the struggle.
You have to hear: Came Out Swinging. Passing Through A Screen Door. Cardinals.
For fans of: Four Year Strong. Seaway. Trash Boat.
2. Jamie Lenman (Main Stage)
Legend of the game, Jamie Lenman, returns to the fore of 2000 Trees in correlation with his first releases of new music since 2014’s one of a kind, Muscle Memory. Lenman is certainly not short of pedigree around these parts, having famously fronted alt-rock royalty, Reuben, until their demise in 2008. Rising from his auditory grave in 2013, Lenman has once again captivated audiences with varied demonstrations of his undeniable genius – whether it be his face melting hardcore tracks or his romantically nostalgic folk homages – even the neutral can recognise and appreciate the talent this man possesses. His show at 2000 Trees is sure to be a hallmark display of said talent, from start to finish the audience will be eating out of the palm of his six-fingered hand. (Sorry).
You have to hear: Pretty Please. One Of My Eyes Is A Clock. Mississippi.
For fans of: Reuben (obvs). Million Dead. Pulled Apart By Horses.
1. All The Headliners (Main Stage)
Yeah, I know, I cheated. Could you honestly expect me to choose between these four mammoth headliners? Slaves will agitate in the best way possible with their delightedly arrogant punk rock – not one fan will be able to stand still thanks to the itchy rap/rock vibe exuded by this innovative two-piece. One of the most impressive artists that continue to further their mark on the British mainstream are Nothing But Thieves – persistently demonstrating evocative pop-rock songs carried by utterly impeccable vocals – their set at Trees will be an invaluable one to be a part of, particularly considering the heights to which this band is headed. Perhaps the most aggressive set of the weekend will belong to Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, this is not one for the casual listener – I fully expect the whole of the main stage to be one colossal circle pit with Frank himself at the centre – bloody buzzing. Finally, Lower Than Atlantis encapsulate what it means to be a festival headliner with their huge choruses (which are made even better by the dedication of their impressively hard-earned fan following) and a discography rich in depth – there isn’t really anything not to love here.
You have to hear: The Hunter (Slaves). Trip Switch (Nothing But Thieves). Devil Inside Of Me (Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes). Get Over It (Lower Than Atlantis).
For fans of: Rage Against The Machine (Slaves). Muse (Nothing But Thieves). The Bronx (Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes). Don Broco (Lower Than Atlantis).
It’s no secret that 2000 Trees boasts some of the best bands in the industry at this current period. In light of this, I am entirely assured that no one will disappoint, however, seeing as we cannot be at every single stage at the same time – I have decided to include some other names that stood out to me. I wholeheartedly recommend the following: The Dirty Nil, Black Foxxes, Muncie Girls, Gnarwolves, Pulled Apart By Horses, Milk Teeth, Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties and finally, the much-anticipated secret set (it’s a blinder).