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REVIEW: 2000 Trees Festival 2010 – Friday

Image courtesy of VirtualFestivals.com

It was different this year. As 2000 Trees entered its fourth year it would appear that it is starting to become ‘known’. So much so that for the first time since the festival’s start, they managed to sell out tickets to the event before it started.

The problem with selling more tickets is that there are more people to get into the site and this means queues. And it’s in a queue that I found myself on Friday morning when Maybeshewill took to the stage. While I may not have been able to see the stage, thankfully I was able to hear them as I waited to enter the site. The people in front of me in the queue may not have been fans of the soft post-rock meanderings that wafted over us, thinking that it all sounded the same (I didn’t want to point out that it was in fact just one long post-rock epic) – they didn’t appreciate the sounds that gently caressed us and made the hour long queue a bit more bearable.

Post rock was to be a bit of theme for me for the entire weekend which is good as it’s a genre I have a fondness for as can be seen in my post rock playlist. But before my next instalment of post rock there were some other acts to see.

Bags dropped off at the campsite we first made a move to the Leaf Lounge to catch part of the David Goo Variety Band set followed by Midnight Mile – two bands that, thanks to The Cheltenham Underground and I Started The Fire, I had seen before and two bands that produced solid sets. David Goo is an act that is extremely hard to categorise: imagine if you grabbed a bit of every genre and mixed it together with a bit of theatre and you’d start to get an idea of what to expect. Midnight Mile are much easier to describe, being part of the I Started The Fire folk based label you know where their roots are but mixed with a bit of soul and acoustica to produce a deep soul felt sound.

But there was no time to hang around the Leaf Lounge as there was an appointment to be kept at the Green House for the performance of Spotisfaction hero Men Diamler. A solo performer that has more power than many bands I have seen Men Diamler truly has to be seen to be believed. Wandering on and off stage as the whim takes him Men Diamler doesn’t need a sound system to be at his best and many an audience member will get a very close, and sometimes intimidating, look at his performance. I have seen Men Diamler a few times in the last few months and his performances just seem to be improving. A mix of own songs and traditional spiritual songs, hymns and shanties this is a sound that can divide the opinion of the listeners as much as his antics can physically divide the audience.

Then time to hit the main stage for one of the acts I really wanted to see and yes it was a bit of post rock. And So I Watch You From Afar may sound like something a stalker would say but it’s also more words than you’ll hear in an entire set from the band. An entirely instrumental set may not be everyone’s cup of tea but these guys pulled it off with aplomb. The band were tight and the sound was phenomenal, this was post rock excellence being performed for our pleasure. With a sound much heavier than some of their post rock counterparts, this quintet from Belfast stormed through a flawless set full of swooping guitars and thrashing drums that is much more tightly structured then it may appear to the casual listener. The sheer forcefulness of their sound is proof that while lyrics can move you, music alone can get you moving.

A break for some food, and some more cider, as well as a wander around the site to check things out before heading back to the main stage to check out the headliners.

First up were Errors, more post-rock musing but this time with a much more electronic, synth laden feel. Melodic and tuneful, the Glaswegian four piece effortlessly blend their playful synth refrains with post-rock guitars and frantic drumming. There is comfortable cohesiveness amongst the band that creates a sound that almost rolls off the stage and over the crowd, settling comfortably into the spaces around everyone. This music isn’t in your face, it’s more subtle, tempting you in to investigate more.

Next we had Metronomy and quite frankly this was one of the best sets of the weekend. Full of energy and, of course, with a funky light show, Metronomy’s current line up lit up the stage both literally and metaphorically. A mixture of smart electro pop and experimental new rave Metronomy can be hard to categorise but when they put on a show like this genres mean nothing. Pumping tunes like Heatbreaker and You Could Easily Have Me into the audience, the crowd responded with some highly energetic dancing that lifted the mood of the festival above the rain that had fallen during the day.

And finally there was headliner Frank Turner…
…hmm yeah I think I’ll just leave that one there

[Kev]

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LIVE: 2000 Trees Festival, or "I Guess I’ll Need A Second Match"

2000 Trees

Ok, so it’s not Glastonbury, but over the last three years 2000 Trees has grown to become quite a well respected little festival. It’s fourth outing kicks off tomorrow, with early entry for some lucky ticket-holders today.

Held every year at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham, 2000 Trees was started by a group of friends as a reaction to the spiralling costs of the mainstream festivals and the desire to create a more ethical alternative.

2000 Trees is one of the more environmentally-friendly festivals, winning a ‘Greener Festival Award’ for its efforts. Electricity is produced from locally sourced bio-fuel, there is onsite recycling, food and drink is locally sourced where possible and there are travel incentives for car sharing and using local transport.

Musically the festival has no restrictions, offering music from various genres including rock, metal, indie, folk and pop, but with an emphasis on promoting home grown talent. The organizers even hold a Battle of the Bands each year to give local bands a chance to win a slot on the main stage.

This year’s line-up is headlined by Frank Turner, Metronomy, The Subways and Bombay Bicycle Club with other acts including Kill It Kid, 65Daysofstatic, Maybeshewill, Tubelord, And So I Watch You From Afar, David Goo, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun, and Spotisfaction favourite Men Diamler.

Following a successful day at the festival last year, where we discovered the awesomeness that is Imperial Leisure, Thom and myself are heading there for the entire weekend this year so look for some reviews from us next week (or whenever we recover).

[Kevin]