A Review of 2000 Trees 2014.

2000 Trees 2014
The Review

No one likes a preaching vegan. We don’t care that you’re straight edge. Your DIY ethics are cute, but we’re still going to judge you just as harshly.
2000 Trees festival in Cheltenham may be a labour of love and the pinnacle of independence but, if we’re being really honest, we don’t care. We shop for free-range food because it tastes better. Likewise, 2000 Trees can only boast about its DIY ethos, if it’s any good.

Making it three in a row, I still can’t fault the festival. It’s a pleasure on the ears, and your punk ethics. But that’s not why you’re reading this.
You want to know if the bands were any good.

Well.

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Baby Godzilla (7) have already got a fearsome reputation as a brutal live band and it’s not one they’re looking to grow out of anytime soon. They’re everywhere; In, on and around the crowd out of a physical reaction to their noise metal, rather than any sort of crowd pleasing. If they’re going to make the leap from being a great band, to an incredible band though, they need to make songs that create the same mood through headphones. Gnarwolves(8) were at a similar point a few months back. Now, with songs worthy of their live show, they  play a set that will one day form the basis of a greatest hits. Energy, movement and with every word screamed back at them with soulful venom, Gnarwolves yet again prove that they’re going to be massive, but they’re going to do it on their terms.

The Bronx(6) also did the festival on their terms. Bringing their instant punk to a baying crowd, those that were into it, were really into it. Those curiously peering in were left out in the cold as The Bronx weren’t, and never have been one for pandering. Take it or leave it, we’re The Bronx. Trash Talk(5) have a similar ethos. Their hardcore punk is delivered faultlessly and with the tell-tell aggression that’s paramount to their scene, but you’re either on their side or not with few people changing over the course of their set. Hawk Eyes(7) don’t have that problem. The band is consistently fantastic and 2000 Trees is no different. They draw people in with technical, yet melodic blasts of rock music, and then captivate them, as they weave a noisy tapestry of flightful doom.

Ben Marwood (8) is a cult, and 2000 Trees is his church. A rapturous set of forlorn heartbreak and self-loathing is received with open arms, as 2000 Trees lift him upon their shoulders, and celebrates one of the best singer/songwriters the country has. Not having such a good time are Natives (4). They write big, catchy pop songs but today it was all polish, no edge for the Hampshire four piece. Lonely The Brave (5) have a similar problem. Letting the music speak for itself, especially when it’s so direct, is fine but in the murmur of a festival, sometimes you just need to speak up.

Empire (7) scream for your attention, and they get it. Their classic metal guitar work, alongside soaring flamboyance, is presented with confidence, giving the whole affair a very modern take on a genre stuck in the past. While we’re getting nostalgic, Kids In Glass Houses (4) are splitting up. A mobbed mainstage proved that there are still people who care about them and their pop-rock. Though, the five people on stage were of a different mindset, making for an awkward, forced performance. The Blackout (2) should consider the same self-awareness. A very routine run out of their pantomime pop-rock sounded as tired as their relevance, as slowly the band become obsolete.

The world needs Lost Alone (9). They’re a band that stands for, and means something. Their set at 2000 Trees cemented this belief, as the three-piece play a grungy rendition of their arena polish. Huge choruses, ridiculous riffs and an endearing sense of self-belief, Lost Alone proved that they’re one of the bravest, and most important, bands around.  Tonight,  Johnny Foreigner (8) are  fabulous. They’re everything that’s right with indie and their dark poetry unites the room with ease as they put the world to right, one track at a time. Wolf Alice (8) do exactly the same a few days later. More sheen, less chaos but the same heart. Verses twist about the soul while choruses dance about the tongue. Beauty is more poignant when you see it across a crowded room.

Dad Rocks!(9) certainly knows this. Having expanded into an eight piece band for the day, the magnification in the beauty of his music doesn’t add up. It’s ethereal, mesmerising and haunting with every single person inside the tent, and the scores around the edge craning their necks to find the source of this wonder, connected by this stunning display of bombast and talent.

Similarly Tall Ships (9) return to a glorious reception. Their wonky pop has evolved into a fully angled monster, with a glorious sense of poetry hiding beneath the technical flair. The band, stand arm in arm at the end of their set as the refrain from Vessels provides the biggest singalong of the weekend. Rik breaks eye contact with the crowd for a second and glances skyward, perhaps searching for the limits of this band. For the first time today, he’s left wanting.

Just before them, MaybeSheWill (8) don’t struggle to translate on  the large outdoor stage, instead their music is set free because of it. Soaring instrumental rock and the hammer of vocal samples make up the best sounding set of the weekend. Their beauty is not just in providing a soundtrack to the world, but inspiring a change in it.

There’s a lot of people watching, and waiting to see what Arcane Roots (9) are doing to do next. Not today though, as while you can’t break eye contact with the three-piece, there’s no waiting for the songs to take hold, as their blistering alt-rock is as instant as it is incredible. Knowing when to rise, when to fall and when to let us plummet is all part of the fun. A band who know about having fun are Brawlers(8). Making their first ever festival appearance on their one year anniversary gives their set an air of ominous perfection. Their fiery punk has never been out to achieve such acclaim, but as they declare 2000 Trees belongs to them, there’s few people who would disagree.

Disagreements happen though and two songs from the end of Blood Red Shoes’(10) set, Laura Mary Carter stops to call a member of the crowd out for being a dick. Clearly annoyed at the situation, the duo, seemingly sharing one mind, channel this frustration into a finale that crackles with electricity in a move that’s typical of the band. Taking the frustrations of the everyday, and turning it into a hopeful celebration of chemistry. Blood Red Shoes never threaten to dip below excellent and their blustering rock reverberates through the audience with sultry allure and primal want.

Jamie Lenman(9) has been tied to 2000 Trees since it began. A headline spot that never happened has given the festival it’s own legacy. Today, Jamie Lenman puts his on the line, and walks away victorious. Reuben covers, a jazzy rendition of ‘Tequila’ and his own heavy take on alt-metal set the foundations for a legendary festival set, while his undeniable charm and charisma build it into something more than simply one for the history books. Frightened Rabbit (6)on the other hand may want to forget their night. Playing a set taught with friction, and never really getting out of second gear the band deliver a well-received set, but you could tell by the frustrated look on their faces that they know they can do better. It was good, but heading up a lineup of such talent, sometimes good isn’t enough.

If you’re looking for a free-range, organic festival that is out to offer value for money and a sense of community, you want 2000 Trees. If, however, you only care about the music then you need 2000 Trees. Of the 22 bands I saw, most took time out from their music to thank the organisers for hosting the best festival in the world. I’d like to end this review by doing the same.

 

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~ by justdip on 15/07/2014.

3 Responses to “A Review of 2000 Trees 2014.”

  1. Brilliant weekend and great to see you there! Definitely agree with your ratings for the majority – think my favourites were Dad Rocks!, Jamie Lenman, Wolf Alice and Tall Ships.

  2. […] There is a review of 2000 Trees festival, which includes Arcane Roots here. […]

  3. […] You can read what to expect from Arcane Roots’ new album here, as well as a review of last year’s festival. […]

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