Live Review: 2000 Trees Festival (July 2017)
Another year, another festival season has come around and we couldn't be more excited for Cheltenham's 2000 Trees Festival! Filled to the brim with killer bands, our schedules were overflowing with talent that the organisers were able to book this year. This year there was every genre present; it was as if the owners of 2000 took a look at the trolley and said “We’ll take the lot”. Here’s a run down of the bands we caught at 2017’s 2000 Trees Festival:
Feed The Rhino were by far the heaviest bands we’d seen so far and most likely one of the heaviest over the whole weekend! Their whole set felt like a truck being driven into you at full force; circle pits, walls of death and broken noses could be seen through out the intense 45 minute set. Frontman Lee Tobin spent the majority of the set stood atop the music thirsty crowd, screaming his vocals with no dip in energy at all throughout! A pretty memorable moment was when Lee asked the crowd to split all the way down the middle for a full tent length Wall of Death, to which the crowd faithfully obliged; what happened next was nothing short of pure carnage!!!
With pop punk band Roam coming to the end of touring with their debut album Backbone, but with 2000 trees being their first festival of the summer the band were in full swing. Roam started their set with track Warning sign, now this is a personal favourite but putting that aside you could see and hear the fans enjoying the set they were already putting on within a few minutes of them performing. If could find a person in the tent not singing along with the band every time you looked around I would be surprised. The set included a brief Oasis cover which the fans pretty much sang their heart out to, and it was absolutely incredible to see. Roam’s set including the odd circle pit, lets be honest here is it really a show without a pit? Putting all that aside, the band have so much energy from the start to finish of their set it was great to see and the crowd looked like they were having an amazing time, I know I certainly did.
Now we were lucky enough to catch Mallory Knox at both their acoustic and headline slot. First one we had the pleasure of catching was their acoustic, and honestly I’ve never seen so many people sat on the ground in a forest before, and especially to watch a band. It was so quiet that all you could here was the strums of the guitar and the vocals, but within the background you could here fans singing along, and applauding the band while they performed their stripped down tracks. Mallory Knox’s headline set in comparison was a complete opposite to what we witnessed earlier on in the day, the fans jumping along with the band every chance they got, the energy and atmosphere was exceptional to be a part of, it was definitely sweaty but it was worth the entire time of being in a packed out tent.
Young Guns are a personal favourite of mine, every exception I have whenever I’ve had the privilege of catching them live has always been blown away. The set was definitely something to be enjoyed, even with the inflatable dinosaur flying around the crowd. The set included tracks such as bones, as well as the band including a cover of Foo Fighters My Hero, find a fan within the tent that wasn’t signing their heart out. Fans were chanting away at every moment with the band, fists were in the air, smiles were on the faces of both Young Guns and the crowd themselves. Young guns certainly know how to put on a show and it was easily one of my highlights of the weekend.
We were nothing short of bloody excited for the Dinosaur Pile-Up set on The Axiom stage! Playing a lot of songs from their latest release ’11:11’ and almost an equal amount from their past album ‘Nature Nurture’, the crowd were singing every word in-between jumping in and out of pits, to which there were countless throughout Dinosaur Pile-Up's epic set! The Dinosaur boys finished their set with title track ’11:11’ which saw the biggest crowd reaction of the whole set, which isn’t surprising as it is a banger of a track!!!
Pulled Apart By Horses were a perfect choice to end the day on the Axiom, entering the stage to some ear retching guitar distortion, before kicking off into the two biggest singles of their latest release ‘The Haze’ & ‘The Big What If’ which instantly set the crowd into a flurry of excitement! The rest of the set was a smorgasbord of songs from Pulled Apart's vast back catalogue, they even had time to throw in a cover of The Beatles famous ‘Helter Skelter’.
The set ended with two classics ‘VENOM’ and ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ which saw guitarist James deciding to scale the speakers on the side of the stage and catapult himself off of them not two seconds later. A truly epic performance.
This was my first experience of the band known as Weirds; I was definitely not disappointed! Every member of the band had so much passion when on stage it drew in countless passers by who were intrigued by this incredible band. After a while we realised front-man Aidan enjoyed showing off his party trick of lassoing the crowd with his mic lead, because he must have done this a good five times throughout their early morning set! Weirds’ set ended with a huge breakdown of guitar distortions, fast drums and Aidan Razzall running around the audience wrapping his head tighter and tighter with the mic lead, I fully understand where this band get their name. Weirds are amazing in the weirdest way!!!
After a burst in popularity when they supported Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes back in March, Strange Bones’ set at 2000 Tree’s had a lot of hype surrounding it. Strange Bones had a 30 minute slot on The Axiom; they didn’t waste one second of it! Starting things off with the huge ‘SOIA’ which woke up the many hungover members of the audience. The majority of the show continued in this fashion, massive punk anthems being blasted into the crowd including ‘We The Rats’, a cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Spitfire’ and my personal favourite ‘Big Sister is Watching’ which see’s singer Bobby don a black balaclava and continue to launch himself into the crowd. Strange Bones lived up to the expectations that I had before their set and I look forward to seeing them again in the near future for another punktastic show!
As we took another stroll into the forest, we already knew that Frank Carter’s acoustic performance was going to be one of the most popular of the weekend! We found a nice spot near the front and watched as the forest filled with vast amounts of festival goer’s; then not two minutes before the set was about to start we were told that it was going to be postponed until 2:45pm!
Back again at the rescheduled time; there was hardly any room to even stand! Frank & Dean from The Rattlesnakes took to the stage, apologizing for being late. The duo played a selection of songs from both of the bands albums including: ‘Snake Eyes’, ‘Wild Flowers’ and ‘Beautiful Death’; it was such a treat to see what are usually huge hard-core anthems transformed into acoustic lullabies (pun intended)!
Last time I saw Making Monsters was back in 2014, so I had a vague idea about what their live performance consisted of. After bouncing from stage to stage I finally made it to catch the last three songs of their set, and my god did it bring back some memories. The passion and energy they have as a band is surreal, the crowd were mashing away, the band were performing their hearts out. My love for this band is unreal as it is, but knowing I managed to catch them at a festival and see them have such a great turn out and also how much they’ve grown in the last few years with their musical and live performance was absolutely amazing.
The Wonder Years were my personal highlight. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen them live so I had to make sure I was front row and singing my heart out to every song they played. Every time I looked around the tent I could see fans singing away with the band and even crowd surfing to the front of the barrier. The Wonder Years, had a great atmosphere in the tent when they played, fans were bouncing around and as soon as the guitars strummed the final chord of a few of their tracks the fans carried on singing away. The set ended with a massive round of applause and cheers from the crowd and if I'm honest it was well deserved after their killer performance
A huge turnout for ex-Reuben singer Jamie Lenman as he took to the main stage in a fully white outfit (not something we would suggest if your attending a festival this year), screams could be heard from the front to the back as he ploughed through songs from his album ‘Muscle Memory’! He even had time to reach into his back catalogue and play a Reuben tune to everyone’s enjoyment, as well as donning a signature yellow jacket once worn by the one and only Freddie Mercury; proceeded to play a rendition of Queen’s ‘Fat Bottom Girls’. Finally one final note, Mr Lenman’s crowd banter was on point throughout his set!!!
Finally it had come to the point in the evening that a lot of people (including us) had been waiting patiently for, after hearing the slower acoustic side of The Rattlesnakes, we were eager to see what Frank and the guys had in store.
The band entered the stage to a wall of screams from the crowd, with Frank not too far behind he proceeded to stare wide eyed at every person in that crowd before smashing into ‘Juggernaut’! It wasn’t long before Frank decided to pull out his signature move of performing on top of the crowd, which got the crowd even more excited. This set had it all: Circle pits around the sound desk, wallets/phones and bumbags being found and graciously returned by the man himself; Frank even stopped the whole show when a girl was being abused to then jump off stage and run through the crowd to investigate and to just check if she was okay (which I think more bands should start to do). A final mass sing-a- long of ‘I Hate You’ ended what was most likely the heaviest set of the entire festival!
Nothing But Thieves are quickly becoming a household name, countless plays on radio, having a slot at Glastonbury this year and now their first headline show at 2000 Trees! All of this is very impressive seeing as they have only released one record so far, with number two on its way later this year; the Thieves strutted onto stage to their huge song ‘Ban All the Music’ before blasting out hit songs ‘Wake Up Call’ and ‘Trip Switch’ to which singer Conor invited one of the youngest members of the audience a little boy called Freddie up on stage to help sing. Probably the cutest moment we saw at 2000.
The band even had time to play a few new songs including upcoming single ‘Sorry’ that got the audience and ourselves even more crazily excited for their new record.
After thanking the crowd, the organisers and every person who helped 2000 Tree’s be what it is today, Nothing But Thieves ended their first headline slot with their insanely popular single ‘Amsterdam’ that got everybody moving; a tremendous way to end the Friday night of the festival and got everyone excited for what the last day had in store!
A fun and upbeat show from Spring King on what was another sweaty and hot day at 2000 Trees! Funky riffs galore as the boys played out many a track from their debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like It’, well the answer to that question is Yes!! Personal highlight was the bands rendition of ‘Rectifier’ which got everyone out of their seats and boogieing throughout even with the blistering sun beating down.
Having chatted to the guys in Fizzy Blood earlier and seeing how chilled out they are off stage I almost forgot how crazy their live performances were! Shredding guitars, fast paced drums and clever lyrical content throughout their 30 minute set on The Neu stage. The band played a few new song from their upcoming album ‘Summer Of Luv’, including the title track which every person watching seemed to enjoy! Fizzy Blood then took a look back and jammed out some earlier work such as the incredible ‘January Sun’ that started moshpit after moshpit, with frontman Benji screaming down the mic hyping up the crowd even further.
A surprise last minute set from Palm Reader this evening, originally Slotface were scheduled to play but had to pull out at the last second. Even the band were surprised to be on stage, singer Josh saying “we just happened to be at the festival; they asked us about an hour ago do you want to play a set?”, regardless of the spontaneity of the slot, Palm Reader played a truly phenomenal show! Heavy, Grungy guitar riffs and Josh’s signature vocals over the top brought a bit of last minute metalcore to quite a pop-punk filled day.
I’ve never caught The Menzingers live or really had the chance to listen to them, but if the performance they put on was anything to go by then they’re pretty insane live. The set was filled with fans crowd surfing, singing along and dancing away to the band. Even though I’d never seen them before it was definitely a highlight being able to catch them, especially with the vibe they put out as a band, and with the way the crowd were interacting it was honestly one hell of set. I could not recommend catching them live enough if you get the chance.
Lower Than Atlantis were one of my must see bands of the weekend. The energy they bring to shows is great to see. One fan was surfing the crowd in a chair with a bag of wine in his hand "what is that, wine?" the fan ended up going along the crowd and passed his bag over to Mike, after a quick swig it was thrown back into the crowd. With the band playing fan favorites such as Get over it, you were certain to see fans enjoying themselves and singing away. 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn' was definitely chanted as soon as Mike said they had a song just for him. Overall the set was one of the many that stood out to me personally and I think it's mostly down to their stage presence and ensuring the fans were getting involved too.
Having only been announced the week prior to 2000 Tree’s, there was a lot of excitement about The Xcerts set on the final day of the festival. The whole thing felt like a homecoming show, fans singing along to every word of every song, the band looking like they were going to cry with joy; it was a very emotional return to 2000 Tree’s for Xcerts. Of course they played classics like ‘Shaking In The Water’ and ‘Live Like This’; they also had time to play their latest single ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’ and a new song aptly named ‘First Kiss Feeling’ which went down a storm with 2000 tree’s patrons.
All in all a fantastic return to the festival for the Scottish born boys!
So finally we come to the last band of what was an incredible weekend of Sun, Sea (that’s the fancy dress if you didn’t know) and good times all around. The Tunbridge Wells natives Slaves took to the stage for their very first festival headline slot, which is surpising seeing how popular they have become in the past few years; never the less the show was amazing, huge screens on either side of the stage playing satirical videos to match each song perfectly and a giant neon SLAVES sign at the rear of the stage. With quick witted remarks and stories between each song, you could tell Isaac and Laurie knew how to work a crowd with ease, playing songs from all three of their albums not just sticking to the newest one as most bands tend to do these days. It was a very refreshing show, not your average run of the mill punk performance, there was humor, singalongs and even a cardboard cut out of Jeremy Corbyn smoking a spliff. If this is what happens at a Slaves headline festival show, I can only begin to imagine what it will be like once they get a few more under their already bulging belt.
As the last bands strummed their final notes and bid the crowds farewell, 2000 Tree’s sadly came to an end for another year! This was our first taste of what this festival has to offer and we will most likely be back next year to see what will be an even bigger and better festival (if its even possible to top this year).
Review by Heather Lowe and Joe Dick
Photography by Joe Dick