After a stonking day of seeing awesome bands on Friday of 2000 Trees Festival that included many, many hours of alcohol consumption, it’s safe to say Saturday got off to a slow start. But the next 15 hours or so made the hangover seem a very distant memory with probably the best day of music I’ve ever experienced.
However, that early morning feeling clearly wasn’t resigned just to me as Giants, set to be the first band on The Cave stage, didn’t show up, so I spent the first hour of the day laying down in the big tent very slowly nursing a hair of the dog beer.
But any thoughts of hangover-fuelled self-sympathy were swiftly blown away when Croydon trio Bad Sign took to the stage. I’d heard a few of their tracks before the show, liked what I’d heard and was really keen to see them, and they delivered in impressive style. The guitars were big and bruising, with great vocals from bassist Joe Appleford, as typified by the massive grungey Rebuild. Indeed, as I was leaving the tent someone in front of me commented they were “the loudest band” he’d heard all weekend, which is impressive for a three piece.
I swiftly moved across the way to The Axiom to see another exciting new band, Big Spring. I really enjoyed the set, especially the hooky, addictive Cold Foot, which was stuck in my head for hours, and the awesome huge riff on the final track of their set On A Bamboo Sleeping Mat. Watching Big Spring I couldn’t help but relate them to Soundgarden, thanks to their ability to write great singalong tracks and pump out big riffs.
After a bit of self-sympathy removing lunch I took a wander around to find something new and discovered it in the form of Svalbard. They were one of the heaviest bands I’d heard yet, and I was lured in by the fascinating shared screamed vocals between the frontwoman and guitarist and their amusing banter with the crowd. They were the first band I’d stumbled across that I hadn’t heard of so far in the weekend, and I’ll definitely be checking them out more in the next few weeks.
The new bands kept on coming as I moved back across to The Axiom to see a band called Get Inuit, who a band I’d interviewed earlier in the day told me they were most looking forward to checking out. The Kent rockers describe their music as ‘dirty pop’ and seeing the first time there was more than a little Weezer-ness about them both in their sound and the look of the frontman. They were really fun to watch, mixing loads of energy with big riffs, with my favourite track being the really catchy Coping With Death In A Nutshell.
Next up was probably my highlight of the entire weekend, as I moved back to The Cave to see another of my favourite new bands The One Hundred. Frontman Jacob Field was massively entertaining, in his rather fetching all orange shorts and tshirt outfit and getting the crowd moving – and he was the only frontman I saw all day join the crowd with a crowdsurf.
The London rap-meets-rock quartet absolutely killed it, with awesome renditions of Dark Matters, the first single off last month’s album Chaos & Bliss, and Kingsmen, from their debut EP. But the number one song that still remains stuck in my head when writing this was Downfall, which kicked off a huge circle pit and moshpits and generally had people losing their minds.
Fresh from that I moved back to The Axiom to see a band I only discovered via the 2000 Trees Spotify playlist a few days before heading along to the event. The very international Young Legionnaire were a probably needed drop in pace, but I really enjoyed their well-written tracks and slightly moody rock.
Then it was time for my first visit to the NEU stage, which is just in front of the Main Stage, to see the mighty Acres. I love their trademark blistering guitar sounds combined with Ben Lumber’s huge screamed vocals, and they put on a great show – which was particularly enjoyed by their dads, who I somehow ended up in conversation with right at the front of the audience and one of whom made me drink cider out of his Viking horn. Obviously.
And if that wasn’t heavy enough, then it was soon time to take the heaviness to ridiculous levels in the form of Palm Reader, who were only playing as a replacement for Slotface – and duly sent their drummer out parading the festival with a board announcing their set. I knew they were heavy, but was blown away by the sheer brutality and they must be the heaviest band on the line-up. Unfortunately, so much so that I forgot about Hundred Reasons playing an acoustic set in the Forest Sessions, but more than enjoyed seeing Palm Reader rip up The Axiom.
That fix of brutality was brought down a peg or two with a much more pop-rock experience of watching The Xcerts, who were thoroughly entertaining with catchy song after song of writing excellence.
Next up was one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing, Area 11 back on NEU. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since they were one of the first album reviews to feature on this site back in September, and that feeling was only fuelled by seeing them live. Frontman Sparkles was on fine form, with big riffs blasting out alongside some impressive drumming from Leo Taylor. Modern Synthesis is one of the best albums of last year, and they back it up with an awesome live set packed with crowd pleasers of which the toss-up was between the massive Processor and gradually building Red Queen.
The music was nearing a close, with one final choice between the two clashing headliners Oathbreaker and Slaves. Taking the more popular option I headed on down to the Main Stage to see the always entertaining Slaves bring the festival to a fitting ending. They put on a great show, with standing-up drummer / vocalist Isaac Holman particularly crazy. A particular highlight was Where’s Your Car Debbie? and the epic Feed The Mantaray, although there was slight disappointment that they didn’t play Cheer Up London.
I had an awesome time at 2000 Trees. The weekend was packed out with great bands not only back-to-back but with really tough clashes throughout, and the vibe at the event was chilled and friendly – everyone just wanted to watch music and have a good time. As I read someone from the festival say before it kicked off, this event is a great indication of where rock and metal music is at right now, and long may it continue. Oh, and the food and beer is pretty damn good too!
Keep an eye out for more musings from the festival, and interviews with some of the bands we saw play over the next few days, weeks and months.