2000 Trees Festival went well underway from 7th-9th July in Cotswold Hills, the festival features some of the best new and underground acts in rock and indie music, alongside some of the more established acts such as THE BRONX, FRANK TURNER and freshly reunited THE KING BLUES. Distorted Sound‘s Dean Martin managed to head off to the festival and check out some of the budding and matured acts. Read the reviews for all of the bands that were caught throughout the festival below and keep your eyes peeled for interviews from your favourite acts.
THRILL COLLINS – Forest
A mash up of Thriller, complete with spooky laughs, Le Freak, and Don’t Stop Movin’ among other memorable tunes rocks the Forest Stage and opens THRILL COLLINS’ set. Needless to say the attention and interest of everyone gathered in the forest is caught. Before long people have moved to the front and are dancing and singing along. The audience was then asked if they would prefer an 80s or 90s song? Girl or boy artist? The audience chose 90s girl, C’est La Vie was the song to play and won over the hearts of anyone left unsure. The skiffle band, consisting of a cello, acoustic guitar, and cajon (or in their own words ‘sitting down bashy box’), covered songs right from the 70s to modern day and are not an act to miss under any circumstances. A perfect tribute to all the bands we’ve grown up on and a party atmosphere that’ll be tough to beat.
GRUMBLE BEE (acoustic) – Forest
Despite some tuning issues early on in the set, during which Jack Bennett cracked out the tuning app on his phone and smoothly altered the lyrics to as of yet untitled new track which was first on the set list, the performance was a success. The acoustic set is made up purely of Jack and a guitar but this is more than enough. With an ability to pluck short, blunt notes that are anything but soft in a rather pleasing manner to match his gruff, yet soulful voice, the performance is enchanting and unique. These tones are suddenly switched out for a more gentle line or introduction throughout songs meaning he never gets boring or repetitive. A thoroughly delightful performance.
BEANS ON TOAST – The Axiom
With all the political drama that’s happened so far in 2016, a politically minded, folk rock song writer like Jay McAllister is sure to be paying attention and sure enough he opened the set with a new song, aptly named 2016, in which the various politics and recent celebrity deaths, specifically Lemmy Kilmister and Prince, were covered. It prompted nods of approval from the crowd or a hand raised in recognition, as well as cheers to his unabashed opinions on various matters. A song or two later and Jay jumped down into the crowd, made his way to the middle, and performed the next song on the shoulders of a fan. An acoustic guitar and a comical attitude is shown to be a winning combination by Jay McAllister who produces an engaging, informative, and interesting set, all whislt playing tunes you can dance to.
FRANK TURNER – The Axiom
To honour ten years of 2000trees, secret act, folk singer Frank Turner performed a solo set on The Axiom Stage, although being a regular at the festival it wasn’t a huge leap to guess who it would be. The tent wasn’t just full, people spilled out and crowed around outside to watch. The set consisted of gentle, melodic songs, with the odd acappella number thrown in for good measure. Audience participation was at an all-time high as songs were sung enthusiastically from start to finish. A popular choice with all and good way to commemorate ten years.
THE BRONX – The Cave
Punk rock band THE BRONX headline the first night of 2000trees in The Cave. A set filled with hardcore guitar riffs, backed up by relentless drum beats create an intense and brutal experience, one thoroughly enjoyed by all there. Being up on stage clearly isn’t enough for frontman Matt Caughthran, who dived into the crowd at every opportunity to mosh, generally causing trouble and finally crowd surf back to the stage, during which he didn’t miss a single word. This energy was reciprocated by both the band and audience; the entire tent was buzzing. They might not look like much offstage, but with intense, energetic riffs, hardcore rhythms and a give ‘em hell attitude, THE BRONX ruthlessly finish off the first day of the festival.
WACO – The Axiom
A throw back to 70s punk, with perhaps a bit more bounce, is the only way to describe WACO. Frontman Jak Hutchcraft’s distinctive angsty voice, and dramatic riffs drew crowds to The Axiom stage on Sunday morning for the indie quartets positive vibes, dancing, and generally a good time. Between pleasing guitar riffs, and catchy vocals the bands positive future is obvious. Within the set, Rotten Tooth, a song from their new EP Uprise, was played displaying their continued energy and careful construction. It’s a song that’s good on the record, and even better live.
NECK DEEP – Main Stage
Breaking open the British pop-punk scene are NECK DEEP who were a success with clean, memorable lyrics, a positive attitude, and songs you can’t help but jump to. Despite only having formed in 2014, the band seemed like pros up on stage, commanding the attention of everyone nearby and creating a tangible buzz amongst the crowd. They opened the set with Citzens Of The Earth to warm the crowd up, jumping across the stage with an excitement which continued through the set. Soon chorus’ of ‘woah woah oh oh’ rang out across the field, and if things weren’t already good, the sun was even shining down.
LONELY THE BRAVE – The Cave
The tent was packed in preparation for LONELY THE BRAVE and fans were not disappointed, with good crowd interaction and seemingly endless energy. Included in the set list was Jaws Of Hell on which guitarist Mark Trotter accompanied on vocals, a technique which proved to be extremely effective. He also sang along to every other song, just without a microphone, a real reminder that no matter how successful a band is, they are not very different to the fans. Some slower songs were intertwined in the show, oozing with feeling and providing it with more depth overall. Frontman David Jakes was evidently extremely pleased with the turnout and enjoyed every moment of the performance, regularly pausing to take in the view.
MALLORY KNOX – Main Stage
MALLORY KNOX were created to play this stage, or so it seems, with the audience bouncing in time and frontman Mikey Chapman’s obvious glee is so natural. The altering tones of Mikey’s singing: both more gentle and aggressive, with guitarist Joe Savins screaming lines where appropriate are extremely effective and keep the music alive. The set included fan favourites When Are We Waking Up? and Dare To Be Alive, both of which are great introductions to anyone not familiar with the rock outfit. Not a band you’d necessarily mosh to, but enthusiastic fans wanted to move, so mosh they did. The exuberance both on stage and in the crowd was infectious and soon everyone was singing and dancing along. Despite having spent the last few weeks in the studio recording, MALLORY KNOX were completely on form.
TWIN ATLANTIC – Main Stage
Despite some recent health issues, TWIN ATLANTIC made it to their set at 2000trees. It was unfortunate that Sam McTrusty’s voice was not at its usual strength but he gave the show his best effort and fans all through the crowd were singing along to help him out. Being the first headline spot outside of Scotland, this was a big show for the quartet and they rose marvellously to the occasion with big riffs and bigger personalities they dominated the stage and warmed the hearts of the crowd. Accented lyrics, gentle electric guitars melodies, and humorous, heart warming lyrics make up TWIN ATLANTIC’s success, and their rightful place on main stage. Ending the set with fan favourite Heart And Soul was the obvious choice, but also the right one as the field joined in harmony to belt out the words. Get better soon Sam.
WSTR – The Cave
Despite an early set and being one of the youngest bands playing the festival, the tent was full of enthusiastic, ready to rock fans. A fast paced set, full of aggressive punk rock inspired mayhem in the crowd, a large pit opened up to compliment the fantastic energy on stage from the Liverpudlian lads, with synchronised jumping along to most songs, and an infectious passion for their performance. WSTR are great fun and a good start to any festival day. The penultimate song, and a fast becoming regular number in their repertoire, was a cover of LIMP BIZKIT’s Break Stuff which proved to be very popular with fans.
CREEPER – Main Stage
An emotional journey through songs about misery and love makes up CREEPER’s horror punk set. True to their name, there’s something unsettling about the uniform black outfits with matching CREEPER patches – which are clearly visible on backs all throughout the crowd – and an agreement to turn their backs when not playing all complements the songs. Copious crowd surfing accompanies the rock fuelled set and keeps security on their toes, apart from during Misery when an eerie calm descends as fans voices come together to sing along as loud as their lungs would allow, accompanying Will Gould’s hauntingly beautiful voice. It’s easy to see why they have risen to such fame in the mere two years of playing with the sheer passion displayed on every band members face during the performance and honest music, played practically perfectly, that touches the hearts of the crowd.
THE KING BLUES – Main Stage
THE KING BLUES were on the Main Stage on Saturday evening performing a lyrically charged set, intricately complicated songs, with a slightly bluesy feels, and the occasional ukulele. Some older songs, e.g. The Streets Are Ours and Mr Music Man were laced through the set to the delight of the continuously bouncing audience and during My Boulder, the enthusiastic fans even took over singing for a chorus. Between songs, frontman Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox discusses some of the issues close to his heart: male suicide rates and police shootings being some examples, these were then backed up by the songs of peace and unity: “You can lean on me/ Cry on my shoulder” he passionately declared. The set ends with the very fitting Save The World, Get The Girl that included much arm waving and shoulder sitting.
REFUSED – Main Stage
Huge crowds gathered in preparation for the mighty REFUSED. There’s a lot of pressure on any band closing a festival, they’re the band people are going to remember, but this doesn’t seem to phase the Swedish quintet and despite the fact they’re neither British, underground or new, they go down a storm with crowds who sing along without hesitation from the first note. Suited and booted in a stylish red suit, Dennis Lyxzén’s raspy voice and euphony of throbbing guitar riffs creates a celebration with the odd microphone toss into the air and ear splitting guitar sections. Their slightly grungy sound, twisted together with hardcore punk tones and an anti-establishment lyrical theme create a colossal entity, worthy of headlining the main stage.
For more information on 2000 Trees Festival like their official page on Facebook.