2000trees Festival – Saturday 12 July 2014

Hailing from Cheltenham, local boys I, the Lion opened the Axiom on Saturday morning – with their relentless assault of Biffy-style riffs and rock choruses the perfect start to another wonderfully warm day. VerseChorusVerse delivered a stunning acoustic set in the early afternoon sunshine up in the Croft, which once again contained his version of Merle Travis ‘Sixteen Tons’ and a song that reflects a drunken conversation he’d had with an Irishman who’d lived an awful life but hadn’t been broken yet. Pleasant and funny throughout, Tony had been enjoying the festival all weekend and this all-too-short set topped it off in style. Little Matador also proved themselves as a band well worth watching with their perfect festival set. Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly’s much more aggressive side project, they have a bit of Sucioperro in their sound as well as a healthy love of bigger rock bands like Queens of the Stone Age. Between songs, Nathan addressed various members of the crowd – be they playing swingball, wearing a banana costume or taking part in the box sets fancy dress competition, which added a delightfully personal touch to the set.

After a long, long drive from Denmark, Dad Rocks! was expanded into an eight-piece for this very special occasion – and they did not disappoint. With strings, brass and a rhythm section all present, Snævar Njáll Albertsson’s project was one of the highlights of the weekend, mixing tracks from ‘Year of the Flesh’ and ‘Mount Modern’, while the band played and sang their hearts out with smiles on their faces throughout. A huge and attentive crowd lapped it up, so let’s hope they will return for the Dad Rocks! shows taking place in October alongside Snævar’s other band Mimas. Maybeshewill played on the main stage after their triumphant set in the Cave last year, which brought both band and audience to tears, and delivered another display full of emotion and zeal. The closing ‘He Films the Clouds Pt. 2’ even got the crowd singing along to the spoken-word sample.

Tall Ships have worked their way around the stages at 2000Trees and finally made an appearance on the biggest of them all. Now expanded into a five-piece and playing a few new songs, one of which brought back fond memories of Hope of the States, alongside old favourites like ‘Plate Tectonics’ and ‘Ode to Ancestors’, there was a celebratory feel around the impressive crowd and we just can’t wait to hear another full-length record from them. After this, it was time to see the man who had been on the lips of many festival –goers since they made the announcement – Jamie Lenman was finally coming to 2000 Trees. A festival which has a stage in its campsite named Camp Reuben is surely the perfect place for Jamie and his Heavy Mellow band to play – and from the opening notes of ‘Fizzy Blood’ it was clear they were in the mood to rock out. Possibly some of the heaviest songs of the weekend, there was still time for Reuben classics (including ‘Song for Saturday’ and a ‘Alpha Signal Three’ which featured Dave McPherson on guest duties), the tender ‘I Ain’t Your Boy’ and a cover of The Champs classic ‘Tequila’.

Still on a high after their jubilant Glastonbury set, Wolf Alice were even better at 2000Trees. A phenomenally passionate crowd had gathered and went crazy the moment the four-piece, all adorned with gothic-style face paint, walked on stage. Opening with ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ and playing soon-to-be future classics including ‘Bros’, ‘Hold Up Your Lighters’ and their take on Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. There were no tears of joy during this performance, but the sheer enthusiasm and talent on display won them a host of new fans to go alongside those who already love them. Finishing the weekend and returning to a headline slot they first occupied in 2011 was Frightened Rabbit, with Scott Hutchison complimenting the festival in a way only he can: ‘2000trees was the first festival to let us headline. Everyone else thinks we’re shit.’ Songs spanning across all of their albums, including a rare appearance for ‘Square 9’ from debut ‘Sing the Greys’ just before a rousing closing rendition of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’, helped further establish Frabbit as a band of the people. Sing-alongs aplenty to ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and ‘Backyard Skulls’ were spectacular, many danced to ‘Old Old Fashioned’ and the irresistible tribal clap and stomp-along to ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ was one of the weekend’s defining moments. We’re already counting down to 2015’s 2000trees.

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