The most detailed 2000trees review you’ll find anywhere on the internet. Part 3.

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 third instalment of the most detailed reviews from 2000trees that you will find anywhere on the internet.

The Xcerts – The Forest & Main Stage
The Xcerts - Joe Singh
Image from Joe Singh.
The Xcerts remind us why they are a staple, must-see band of 2000trees.

Having been to 2000trees for the past 3 years, I know the importance of making time to spend some of the weekend with The Xcerts. Each year singing (aptly) about the alcohol burning our guts and oohing along to Slackerpop are highlights of the festival. I kept my fingers crossed that their 2018 performance would prove to be no less special.

However, I must begin with the bands’ Forest Session. Unfortunately, it did not have the levels of spine-tingling beauty that we have come to expect from them. Whether it was because the stage had been occupied by a barrage of unaware camping chair warriors, taking their place in the dappled shade to hide from the sun in their hungover state or because the levels of Murray’s vocals and guitar were a little low – something wasn’t right. Don’t get me wrong, the set – which featured a cover of Tiny Dancer – still had its highlights. I just missed the energy of the trees trembling as the voices of hundreds of fans sent the lyrics of their tracks, such as the iconic Aberdeen 1987, back towards the frontman. Seeing the smile on Murray’s face, however, as the front portion of the crowd seemed to pour their voices towards him made for an adorable watch.

The bands’ arrival on the main stage was an entirely different prospect. Professional and excited to be serenading the hordes of people who had braved the sunburn, the trio were noticeably charged. Hits from their latest album Hold Onto Your Heart, such as Show Me Beautiful and the titular track of the record got the audience into that sing-a-long mood. Naturally, Feels Like Falling In Love and the aforementioned Aberdeen 1987 worked the voices from the audience and beautifully filled rolling Cheltenham hills. From start to finish, their main stage set was emotive and tight. For me, to see the boys triumph such a task with relative ease was special. We Are Gonna Live was a hugely important moment in the set. Murray addressed the recent passing of Scott Hutchinson (vocalist of Frightened Rabbit), who sadly took his own life. He explained the importance of enjoying the moments you spend with your loved ones and knowing that there is always someone out there that loves you. With an emotional dedication to a close friend, the band exploded into this track and belted out this message with an admirable gusto of emotion.

I know that this won’t be the last time that I get to see The Xcerts at 2000trees and for that I am glad. I will continue listening to their music knowing that when July rolls around it will be time for a masterclass once more from one of the humblest bands around. Keep up the good work boys.

Forest Stage – 2.75/5.
Main Stage – 4/5. Callum Huthwaite.
Basement – Main Stage
Basement - Gareth Bull
Image from Gareth Bull.
Basement bang on the 2000trees Main Stage.

Basement are a band that I have had the pleasure of seeing 4 or 5 times over the past few years. One of the fondest times that I have seen them was at 2000trees, just 2 years previous. I remember being blown away by their headline set in The Cave and harboured the same level of excitement when I found out that they were playing again this year. Fresh off a European tour, I was hoping that the Ipswich 5-piece would be ready to set the festival alight.

Luckily, I was proved right. The boys came out with a bang, causing the crowd to rise to the occasion as they ran through Whole. The beauty with Basement taking a while to release new music is that they have been able to comprise a killer setlist. Older hits such as Fading and Crickets Throw Their Voice gave the audience an energy that was one of the highlights of the festival. Similarly, the highpoints from Promise Everything and Colourmeinkindness did wonders to ignite the crowd even further. I must note that this set was unlike any that I have seen from the band before. Normally the boys keep themselves to themselves, burning through their tracks with efficient professionalism. However, their performance at this year’s Trees was electric. Every band-member flung themselves across the stage and even took time between songs to address the weather with some humour. Coupled with the beating sun, this performance was golden. With a little cameo to Ross Kemp’s iconic “EVERY. THING.” sound clip, the band fired into Promise Everything and gave us one more moment of magic before closing out.

The only frustrating part about this set was the lack of new material. Secretly, I was hoping for the band to play a new number during this performance. But alas, if what they are working on has as much energy encapsulated in it as their performance at Trees, then we are all in for a treat.

4.75/5 Bytes. Callum Huthwaite.
Moose Blood – Main Stage
Image from Fraser Wakeling.
How will Moose Blood fare in the face of adversity on the festival’s biggest stage?

It’s been a tricky time for Moose Blood. A band that once looked like they would conquer the world have found themselves shrouded in a cloud of controversy that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. This combined with a third album that didn’t quite hit the mark, it feels as though the wind may have been knocked from the band’s sails. Nonetheless, here they are, the penultimate act on the Main Stage.

Generally speaking, the show was enjoyable. Despite the above, I would still class myself a Moose Blood fan – the memories and emotions induced from spinning their debut record is no accident and is a notion that will still draw many to this band. Pups, in particular, stood out as being one of the more energetic performances that was in turn reciprocated by the audience. Similarly, Knuckles and Honey were met with plenty of hip swaying and affectionate singalongs.

They’ve never been a band to throw themselves about the stage, however, this performance felt particularly nervous and stoic. That being said, guitarist Mark Osborne lobbed his guitar through Lee Munday’s drum kit after their final song had drawn to a close. Was this out of frustration or passion? Either way, it was the most life that the band had demonstrated throughout their performance.

2.5/5 Bytes. Aaron Jackson.
Enter Shikari – The Forest & Main Stage
Shikari - Gareth Bull
Image from Gareth Bull
Shikari fight their way through the foliage and emerge triumphant as they draw the weekend to a close.

Our first taste of the festival’s main event came in the mid-afternoon in 2000trees’ acclaimed Forest stage. After respectfully batting off anyone trying to fight their way into a prime position, the dust finally settled and Rou Reynolds gingerly bumbled into centre stage. Armed with a 6-string and a laptop, we were all ready for our serenade at the hands of this modern icon. A lost (then found) lyric sheet, a guitar that just wouldn’t tune properly and an all-around nervous performance fell miserably flat and was, unfortunately, a disappointment.

Not to worry, Shikari could not put a foot wrong at this festival – such a large portion of people that we spoke to was there largely just to see these goliaths of the scene. As expected, the dampened Forest performance had no adverse effect on the crowd that was drawn towards their main set – the set that was to conclude the weekend. The Sights instantly had everyone singing along and totally entrapped in the band’s performance from the off. It must be said that, at a Shikari show, you won’t just be there for the music. The light show, quadraphonic sound and Rou’s fantastically erratic dancing made for a party vibe that surpassed anything that had previously been experienced over the weekend. Oh yeah, the music ain’t bad either.

Undoubtedly, the highlight was their quickfire round of 4 songs in approximately 8 minutes. Sorry, You’re Not A Winner, Sssnakepit, …Meltdown and The Jester are all fan favourites that were impeccably received. Bodies flew left, right and centre as we tried to keep up with the electric cacophony that was erupting from that stage. We were afforded a few minutes of respite before the band returned for their encore of Redshift and Live Outside which were considerably less hectic but still as enthusiastic by the rabble the preceded it. Affirmed, proficient and bloody raucous – you must see Enter Shikari live.

Forest Stage – 2/5.
Main Stage – 4.5/5. Aaron Jackson.
Cover Image from Joe Singh.

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