2000 Trees is an intimate, relaxed and eco friendly festival in the heart of the Cotswolds, which is now in it’s 8th year and boasts somewhat of a cult following due to it’s varied lineup, great grub and friendly atmosphere. After the joy of experiencing the festival for the first time last year, I decided to return for yet another brilliant weekend.
Beginning Friday by the main stage, New Forest band Natives’ set provided the perfect wake up call to ease many hungover heads into the day. Although their pop punk sound and catchy sing along choruses are a little cliched, their performance was punchy and lively, which helped to wake the youthful spirit inside everyone watching.
Speaking of lively performances, the next band that I caught were The Computers. Their unique brand of rock and roll screams of blues rock greats such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, while nodding to the future with a raw punk edge. Throughout their set, the suited and booted band lapped up every cheer from the crowd, as front man Al Kershaw put on an almost manic performance with his gravelly tones. He is; in fact, one of the best front men that I’ve seen in a long time and the band were one of the highlights of the weekend.
Friday’s lively lineup continued as I watched enigmatic trio Arcane Roots on the main stage. The three-piece were impressive and played music with all the jaggedy rock sounds of Biffy Clyro or The Mars Volta, while front man Andrew Groves’ smooth vocals left me wanting more.
After a morning of dancing around to bands on the main stage; I listened to some super mellow, ethereal post rock in the Axiom from Nordic Giants. It may be difficult to describe Nordic Giants live other than a mixture of music, drama, film-making and wordsmithery; but the result something beyond beautiful.
Next stop was back to the main stage for another duo, Blood Red Shoes. Although not impressed initially; I soon found myself warming to them as some rock and roll attitude came out to play; especially when guitarist Laura Mary Carter got in an argument with a member of the audience for being an idiot. She may look sweet and innocent, but this girl has some serious attitude!
Headlining the Friday night were Southampton based rock and roll trio, Band of Skulls. In a genre that has been done so many times before by bands such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The White Stripes, it can’t be easy to get correct; but this is something that Band of Skulls have done. If you want to see a good old slice of tightly performed, ballsy rock and roll then make sure you see them live and you will not be disappointed.
On Saturday morning I enjoyed a pint of Badger’s Bottom Cider by the big central tree, then was intrigued to see hardcore Brummie band &U&I’s set in The Cave. If you like edgy, angsty music that tears shit up, then this is the band for you. Unfortunately they seemed just a little too angry to me.
What greeted me in The Axiom a little later can only be described as glorious, both in terms of songwriting and performance. Eight piece collective Dad Rocks! had a long drive to 2000 Trees from Denmark, but it was clear from the start that their long journey was not made in vain, as the audience were mesmerised by Snævar Njáll Albertsson’s quaint project. Layers of strings, rhythm and brass all added to the uplifting atmosphere and left everyone feeling more than a little charmed by the Icelandic front man.
Then it was time for a bit of post rock on the main stage. Leicestershire lads Maybeshewill are a firm favourite since seeing them locally and also in The Cave at last year’s festival. One thing that I’ve always loved about their performances is that somehow regardless of venue size, they are always able to make a big, epic sound; however, I was not entirely sure at how this would translate on a stage as large as the main stage. Fortunately, this proved no problem for the band as they served up a performance with a cinematic sound, which still felt intimate to the audience watching.
One of the best sets on the Saturday came from up and coming indie band Wolf Alice. So far I have already been impressed by the material coming from the young Londoners, and I was not left disappointed at their live performance. Taking to the stage in Gothic facepaint, the band kept chat to a minimum and concentrated on the music as they put on a breathtaking set. Front woman Ellie Roswell’s vocals also had me hooked as she was able to shape the perfect balance between both haunting and heavy moments. I hope to see more from this band over the next few years.
Rounding off the festival nicely for the weekend were Frightened Rabbit. The Scots men played a extensive set, covering songs from all of their albums; and the ‘greatest hits’ approach seemed to work rather well, as everyone sang along. Admittedly, with all the rock and roll from Friday night headliners Band of Skulls, I thought Frightened Rabbit’s mellow indie-rock sounds could have been somewhat eclipsed; but after a long weekend of partying in a field it was actually rather lovely to have something a little more gentile for the journey home.