The most detailed 2000trees review you’ll find anywhere on the internet. Part 2.
I think it was fair to say that 2000trees had even more of a buzz around it than usual this year. With the stacked line-up, beautiful settings, and tickets almost selling out there was no doubt in our minds that this would be the highlight of the summer. We have done our best to capture the best moments of the festival, between the sun cream and the booze consumed. Buckle up and enjoy the second instalment of the most detailed reviews from 2000trees you will find anywhere on the internet.
Lady Bird – Main Stage
Wakey-wakey, drink up your goon, don’t you know? It’s Lady Bird at noon.
I awoke from my sweaty slumber on the Friday morning of 2000trees festival, still wonky from the previous night’s antics, in desperate need of some energy. I found this new lease of life in a couple cans of cheap lager and a Tunbridge Wells trio named Lady Bird. Singer and frontman Don Rennols, guitarist Alex Deadman and drummer Joe Walker didn’t just pull off a difficult slot at any festival (midday on the Main Stage) but dominated it and made it their own. Their set was, personally, the highlight of the festival. We didn’t care that we were a portion of a humble handful of people there and neither did Lady Bird. They played with their heart on their sleeves and left no prisoners. Walker’s drumming slapped us out of our semi-sloshed state and Deadman’s raw unsympathetic guitaring accompanied Rennols’ down-to-earth lyrical social commentary perfectly. I first became aware of Lady Bird after hearing that they had signed for Slaves’ new record label ‘Girl Fight Records’ in February this year. Their EP Social Potions was released shortly afterwards. It’s not the sort of EP that grabs you after the first listen but give it another spin and before you know it you’ll realise how multi-dimensional Lady Bird can be. You’ll soon be screeching ‘WHY?’ towards the end of Social Potions or hypnotised by their 6-minute slow jam Baby!.
Having had the pleasure of a brief chat with frontman and all-round top bloke Rennols’ after his main stage set, I am keen to see Lady Bird again, especially after hearing a couple of their new tracks. I have no doubt these three lads are only going to get bigger and better in the not-too-distant future. I wish them all the best.
4.5/5 Bytes. Josh Crouch.
Gloo – The Axiom
Gloo get stuck right into a sweaty Axiom crowd.
As one of the bands I was most excited to see in the run-up to this years 2000trees, having to wait until Friday for Gloo was tantamount to torture. After watching Lady Bird on the Main Stage at noon, I knew that the Friday of Trees was going to be a special one. Gloo, fresh off the release of their debut album, A Pathetic Youth, the band accumulated an impressive crowd in The Axiom – something that some bands have struggled to achieve before. Alas, it was time for the Littlehampton trio to justify why so many people had chosen to spend their afternoon with them.
Bursting onto the stage with killer single Holiday it was clear that they weren’t there to mess around. The vocals were tight, drums powerful and bass defiant. Everything felt natural. Firing through the hits of A Pathetic Youth I found myself revelling at the fact that the band had written some of the tunes at the last minute, in the studio, as they were recording the album. Pissheads was another highlight of the set and resonated with me more and more as the weekend went on. I will definitely be booking a ticket to see these guys soon.
The only thing holding this set back was the energy in the crowd. It was obvious that a lot of people were vibing the performance, however, they were not showing it. I am sure this will come. This set was one of the most exciting performances of the weekend because it was clear to see that Gloo have so much more to give.
3.25/5 Bytes. Callum Huthwaite.
The Dirty Nil – Main Stage
The Nil score highly as they blast away the grey skies and blustery blues.
Confidently bounding onto the Main Stage to the sound of Sandstorm by Darude instantly placed the ‘Nil on the front foot. Typically, at this point in the day, England was experiencing the first splash of rain in what felt like months. Nonetheless, those that were brave enough to stand firm in the face of adversity and hang tight in the name of rock and roll are the only people that really matter. After playing The Axiom last year, this Canadian trio might have been somewhat deterred by a diminutive crowd, however, returning this year paid off and saw a much larger and much more involved audience.
Swigging whisky and smoking funnies in honour of frontman Luke Bentham’s birthday seemed to fuel their set as they tore through a number of short but sweet punk-rock belters. Naturally, the rendition that will stick in people’s minds the most is the singalong special Fuckin’ Up Young which was, as expected, executed flawlessly. Furthermore, new hits Bathed In Light and Pain Of Infinity were fantastically received – a testament of just how good their upcoming album Master Volume could be.
The energy exerted by the trio was nearly matched by the audience. We ended up resorting in lazy festival gimmicks like human pyramids to repay our gratitude to the band when really it was ultimately a momentary distraction from their performance. Perhaps a good old-fashioned mosh pit would have sufficed. I’m yet to see The Dirty Nil enjoy a crowd with the enthusiasm that they deserve, and I hope that this changes very soon. Nonetheless, the performance stayed true to the Nil’s vintage rock and roll image and made the summer shower more than worthwhile.
4/5 Bytes. Aaron Jackson
Fatherson – Main Stage
Fatherson gently captivate the 2000trees main stage after a 9-month live break.
Fatherson are a band that I have visited only fleetingly over the years since hearing their banger of a track, I Like Not Knowing from their debut release I Am An Island; one that I have always (somehow) managed to miss live. On the Friday of 2000Trees, I finally got my chance to the see them during a slightly drizzly spell away from the scorching heatwave we endured during the festival.
The performance was quite frankly flawless and was delivered with ease and prowess. From older tracks such as the aforementioned, I Like Not Knowing, which was incredible to finally hear live, to new single Making Waves, which was electric. I can truly say that Fatherson were worth the wait. To claim each track was tight would be an understatement, the musicianship of this band was clear to see despite the performance being the first for 9 months. Even though I knew many of the songs, as did a core group of devoted fans closer to the barrier, I feel that those who perhaps didn’t certainly left with a desire to. That is what Trees is all about, seeing good bands and being inspired by their performances. I’ve since listened to Fatherson more than I ever have before and cannot wait for their new album to be released on September 14th. I’ll give this performance 4/5 bytes and I definitely hope to see them again soon.
4/5 Bytes. Euan Dickson.
Jamie Lenman – The Forest
Full coverage of Jamie Lenman’s Forest set will be posted to the website soon, this will include an interview with the main man. Stay tuned.
Ho99o9 – The Cave
Death Grips and Slipknot love child, Ho99o9, provide a truly terrifying experience – setting the bar for live shows for years to come.
Let me set the scene… it’s a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon in Cheltenham. I am standing, ¾ of a ‘goon’ bag deep, watching Jamie Lenman kill his forest session. However, all is not well. I need a nap, so I decide to make a beeline for our camp to sleep off the cheap boxed wine. But, before I can make my escape it was suggested that we check out a band named Ho99o9 (pronounced ‘Horror’ for those unaware). I had never heard of these guys and was, naturally, apprehensive. However, I powered through and pressed on, with my bag of ‘goon’ in hand.
What happened next can only be described as utter carnage. From the get-go, it’s clear that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All order was lost as The Cave became a complete free-for-all with limbs flying in each and every direction. Having read a few bits and bobs about the band since seeing them, I saw on Twitter that a fan even broke their leg during the set. If that isn’t enough to paint a picture of destruction, I don’t know what will. Things onstage weren’t much safer. We witnessed both front men opting for an aesthetic that mirrors what might be seen in Borderlands. We were treated to an Emo version of The Weeknd, rocking a crop top (which he chose to caress at every opportunity), using his black, leather talons to resume his duties as the band’s keyboard player (imagine Edward Scissorhands but more Ann Summers). He was joined on stage by another gentleman, sporting a red mohawk, with an aesthetic that was scarily similar to a former Premier League – ‘Why always me?’ – bad boy striker. Everything was post-apocalyptic in feel. If the convoy that chased ‘Mad Max’ had a car big enough to host a band, then Ho99o9 would be that band.
I wish I could give a more critical analysis of the music itself, but truth be told this was the first time I had heard a sound of this sort. What I can say though, with confidence, is that Ho99o9 produced a live show like no other and I will be listening to their music for years to come. I cannot wait to see them again.
999/999 Bytes. Spencer Henson.
And So I Watch You From Afar – Main Stage
Do not underestimate these 4 Irish instrumentalists as they set their guitars to kill.
I see a multitude of different people around me, awash with ASIWYFA artwork and imagery. Everyone is facing the same direction and continue to creep forward with an anticipatory shuffle. The angst of exhilaration that fills me while waiting for the band to finally take stage roots itself in my nervous system. It feels like I have been waiting long enough but in reality, it’s just minutes. There is a muffle of voices flowing around the Main Stage, continually interrupted by shouts from the crowd to the band. It was coming. With the first glimpse of ASIWYFA taking the stage, the crowd erupts. Angst turns into excitement as the band arms themselves with their weapon of choice.
Down to the fantastic venue and the classic Orange stacks, the sound resonated across the field viciously. I fell in love with this band when I heard their first self-titled album. However, as they move onto their fifth LP nothing has changed. With a lot of bands, their sound alters drastically over each album or stagnates as the band loses sight of their initial passion and power to rock. This could not be further from the truth for And So I Watch You From Afar. Their latest album The Endless Shimmering seems to throw it back to each album that proceeds it. A perfect blend of old sounds and progressive new articulations of their unique musical flavour.
As a result, the baking crowd dived in, head first, into the mosh-pit during the faster and heavier moments of their performance. It was amazing to see those who really knew ASIWYFA brim with excitement, palpable only to the wall of sound heading their way. As the set came to a close it was almost poetic. Ending with Big Thinks Do Remarkable, everyone chanted “the sun, the sun, the sun, is in our eyes” in unison. Nothing could have ended the set more perfectly than hundreds of people sharing their love and sweat for 4 fantastic musicians.
5/5 Bytes. Alfie Emery.
Touché Amoré – The Cave
Touché Amoré deliver a beautiful, spirited performance in The Cave.
I was hooked by Touché Amoré, the alternative powerhouse, ever since I heard the sonic expressionism and passion displayed on their second album Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. This album boasts 20 minutes, making up 13 tracks, that packs a punch and intensity that I had never heard before. For me, their iconic sound and unique identity are unrivalled. Having released two more albums since, Is Survived By in 2013 and Stage Four in 2016, I am able to conclude that their second album boasts so much nostalgia that their newer efforts cannot compete. Although these releases feature some cracking tracks, I cannot bring myself to love it quite as much.
However, this has all changed. 2000trees changed everything. Their setlist comprised of most of the aforementioned second album but was sprinkled with highlights from their newest releases. I was in shock that I had been so stupid to dismiss the prowess of these albums. The passion and emotional investment displayed from the band was incredible. I was able to fall in love with some of my favourite tunes all over again but also found myself bonding to their new stuff. Their energy infectiously flooded through the crowd and sparked cultish chants from pockets of fans.
Even though this was the third time that I had seen the band and knew what I was getting myself into, this performance was by far the most spirited and vibrant. You must see them live to understand.
4.5/5 Bytes. Alfie Emery.
Twin Atlantic – Main Stage
A textbook headline set from one of the best festival bands in the business.
As a festival, 2000trees champions several acts that lean towards the ‘specialist’ label, but I think it is fair to say that Twin Atlantic are relatively straightforward and accessible. Since the release of Free way back in 2011, this band have been rather consistent in producing pop-rock bangers that have seen them enjoy plenty of exposure to the masses. So, it should come as no surprise that they drew a sizeable crowd at Trees, despite being one of the more lukewarm bands on offer.
Opening with Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator was a confusing one. It’s one of those songs that has plenty of potential to explode but never really gets anywhere and so marked a bit of a staggered start for the Scottish quartet. From there it took a short while for the band to get going. Make A Beast Of Myself is one of their most recognised songs, however, being preceded by the more muted Valhalla resulted in a rather disappointing reception.
Free marked the turning point in the set. A firm fan favourite, it’s impossible not to sing along to this absolute belter. After that, the hits really started to come thick and fast. Crash Land and Yes, I Was Drunk are still as beautifully exasperating to me as they were the first time I heard them all those years ago. Twin Atlantic reached their perfect cadence as they saw the night out with Heart And Soul, the chorus of which was, of course, passionately yelled back at the band. Even a power cut right at the death, that seemed all too convenient, wasn’t enough to deter these seasoned pros who, eventually, pulled off a trademark performance.