Frank Turner draws a damp but happy first night at 2000trees to a close

2000trees Festival 2010 review

published: Tue 27th Jul 2010

Friday 16th to Saturday 17th July 2010
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
£50, children 0-10 years free entry - SOLD OUT
last updated: Fri 21st May 2010

This year's 2000 Trees festival began with the traditional downpour and gale force wind, however this not deter the hundreds that flocked to the idyllic nest of fields between the rolling hills, early Thursday night. After an evening that could only be described as hellish with an extra layer of rain, the people of 2000 Trees needed something to warm the cockles of their hearts (aside from the truly legendary and delicious Pieminister with a pint of Badgers Bottom). This came in the form of Maybeshewill, a Leicestershire based band, given the almighty task of opening the weekend's festivities.

This band's descending riffs and crashing drums, near shook the trees of their rain, and gave the atmosphere a damn good lift, pulling in the masses to stand and gape at the 4 men on stage. Maybeshewill had something for everybody, with light and airy piano solo's suddenly cascading into electric drum beats, and layers of subtle bass flanked by lifting guitar rhythms over the top. This was aside the vocal effects and singing choir tracks that weaved in and out of the songs, to everyone's delight. Second Song, /Paris Hilton's Sex tape/ embodied what this band was about, which was to take some instruments that may not necessarily work well on paper, but together, they make something rather beautiful and interesting.

The black polo shirt clad Crazy Arm set the punk rock bar for the weekend, with an engaging mix of hardcore rifts, combined with a rockabilly and folk music lure. The storybook lyrics had an almost Broadway feel to them, giving the feeling this band would not be out of place on a pirate ship; complete with tri-corner hats and a plank. The plucky guitar rhythms complimented Darren Johns wailing and clamour, and the crowd simply loved it. This happy music, needless to say, sent the clouds packing and made the gathering crowd buzz with excitement.

Our third band of the day, Tubelord, were very popular with the young punters of the weekend, but musically were quite weak. Not that dissimilar to a vast growth of popular college bands that are currently gracing the music channels, Tubelord were very shaky in comparison to the previously lyrically rich bands. However, its undeniable their sound was uplifting, with vocalist and guitarist Joseph Prendergast's high pitched vocals and twitchy guitar plucks, was just asking to be danced to.

Suffice to say, this next band didn't look like the type of guys to be gracing the stage, four acts in. In all honesty, I thought some drunk Irish geezers had decided to jump the stage and have a go. Not 30 seconds into their first song, and I thought I had disconnected from the floor, and floated into the mid afternoon sky. And So I Watch You From Afar, the Irish progressive four man army, were truly and categorically, f**king epic.

This monumental sounding band, filled the valley with the heaviest beats and riffs this side of the weekend, with ear splitting drum solos and intense fret board battles between bearded guitarists Rory Friers and Tony Wright. Guitars were stretched and buckled to within an inch of their lives. You could just not believe these four men were making his much noise. Bassist Johnny Adger loomed in the middle of the stage, as a heavy ballast between to two psychedelic guitarists. It didn't matter there were no vocals, however were were treated to very meek and humble thanks from the band, who took the Irish jokes from the crowd all in their stride. When shouted at by a young punter "would you like a cup of tea, Father?", a couple of the band members laughed so hard you could see the smile lines. I instantly grew a fondness for this band, complemented further by the fact I have not been able to put down their self titled 2009 album since I returned from this journey of musical growth. And so I watched you from afar is one band to watch for, because music doesn't get much more nourishing and inspiring than this!

Friday continued with Scottish descendants the The Xcerts with their harmless pop punk, scremo Leeds band Pulled Apart By Horses and indie Future Of The Left, who provided the soundtrack to the afternoon, but it was Errors who kick-started the evening's party atmosphere. The 80's inspired pop/ dance and jazzy beats group, had a Massive Attack feel to it, with its simple undertones and mixture of old and new instruments, in the form of a cowbell lashed to a very expensive looking electric drum kit. The use of synth and watered down vocal effects put the crowd in an excited yet relaxed trance, with the vast majority of front line 'moshers' gently swaying and grooving to the funky, down and dirty beats of this Glasgow based new age electronica band.

Tonight's headline Frank Turner, obviously pulled the largest crowd of the day, with the stage beautifully flanked by rows of lit trees, obscure and slightly haunting in the dusk of the evening. Frank, who did take a few songs to warm to the crowd, delivered slice after slice of acoustic variety, with his voice changing in pitch and depth, whispering gently into the mic to then descending into an intense wail of emotion.

His 'sing around a camp-fire' style had the crowd singing along, with lovely interludes of harmonica melodies, and occasional backing the rest of the band. A lovely moment, consisted of a young lad called Karl, who was pulled up on stage as it was his birthday. Mr. Turner gave the ecstatic Karl a harmonica, and had play along. Needless to say, we were all grinning like idiots at the sight of this nipper, having the time of his life somewhere in a field between Cheltenham and Oxford. Frank Turner ended the evening, blowing kisses at the audience, and shouting, "I believe in guitar, I believe in bass, I believe in drums, I believe in Elvis Presley, I believe in Bruce Springsteen, and I believe in Rock'n Roll." It must've felt good to walk off the stage this evening knowing that 2000 trees believes in something too - Frank Turner.
review by: Angela Martin

Friday 16th to Saturday 17th July 2010
Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 4BL, England MAP
£50, children 0-10 years free entry - SOLD OUT
last updated: Fri 21st May 2010


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