2000 Trees Festival 2016, Day 1, 7th July 2016

2000 trees festival 2016 header-1

2000 Trees is celebrating it’s 10th birthday this year; 10 years of championing the very best in new, underground and British music all in the beautiful setting of Upcote Farm in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Brumlive’s Hannah Sebestjanowicz (HS) and Dave Musson (DM)  experienced this anniversary festival and tell the story of three enthralling days of 2000 Trees Festival 2016:

Its been 6 years since I last attended a festival in the UK so it was time to dust off my wellies (that I thankfully didn’t need), throw my waterproof in the car and head on down to Upcote Farm for what promised to be a pretty special 3 days of live music.Over the course of the festival I asked myself time and time again how I’d never been before. The line-ups have always been amazing and this year is no different, with huge acts like Twin Atlantic and Refused headlining the main stage to acoustic sets in the Forest from the likes of Black Peaks, The Xcerts and Arcane Roots there’s something for everyone.

Thursday 2kt 02 oxygen thief-3

Kicking things off on the Axiom Stage is threesome Oxygen Thief, who have a very strong shout for having one of the best names of the weekend. The trio play a brand stompy, riffy, punky loud rock with a political edge to the lyrics and they play it mightily well with plenty of gusto and energy. They also bring out a cover version – but with a twist; hearing the words to Jailhouse Rock sung to the music of Killing in the Name is something I’ve never heard before and am never likely to hear again. I’m still not sure if it worked properly, but it was certainly interesting and drew even more people into an already busy tent to watch. Certainly a good offering and worth exploring further. (DM)

Thursday 2kt 01 max raptor-2

Max Raptor have the honour of opening the festival by playing the first set of the day at The Cave and they well and truly step up to the plate delivering an extremely energetic set banging out hits like Evangeline and Old Romantics. Lead Singer Will Ray bends the crowd to his will getting everyone to put their arms around the person next to them whether you know them or not. Once everyone is intertwined we are instructed to jump which of course we oblige. He even has himself a little crowd surf. The highlight of the set is ‘The King is Dead’ which sees a humongous circle pit form as Will splits the crowd, one side id Farage, the other Boris; “The biggest cunts in this country” and the crowd lets rips as a huge wall of death collides bringing the set to a chaotic close. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 03 milk teeth-2

Things mellow out a but with the arrival of Gloucester punk rockers Milk Teeth. I’ve been wanting to catch these guys live for ages but fate always seemed to intervene. Sporting a red Ramones shirt and some killer red lipstick Becky totally owns the stage as the band launches into ‘Brain Food’. There’s a heartfelt and touching dedication of ‘ Crows Feet’ to a friend of the band called Lily who has just come out as transgender and the confetti bursting into the air from the crowd during the song is the cherry on top of such a lovely gesture. They also dedicate the the song ‘Swear Jar’  to Frank which is a not so subtle hint to who might be playing the secret headline slot over on the Axiom stage later this evening. A stripped down version of ‘Kabouki’ followed by a rousing rendition of ‘No Fun’ which closes their highly enjoyable performance. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 04 rob lynch-3

I head on over to the Axiom stage to go check out Rob Lynch who sporting a red bandanna (very Axl Rose’esque) leads the packed tent into all of the sing-alongs. New song ‘Prove It’ goes down well but  its ‘Hawking’ that has the fists raised high as the tent erupts with everyone singing along. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 05 black peaks-2

Now Black Peaks delivered possibly one of my favourite sets of the entire festival. Its only my fourth band of the day and my mind has already been blown. Going into this I only knew a handful of tracks and had no idea what to expect, safe to say I have a new favourite band! An epic rendition of ‘Glass Built Castles’ is screamed back by the crowd and the brutal intro to ‘Set in Stone’ gets my heart racing in the best possible way. Moustachioed frontman Will Gardner effortlessly moves from falsetto to ear piercing screams without missing a beat, watching him is like watching a possesed preacher exorcising demons from the crowd. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 06 the xcerts-1

After picking my jaw up off the floor it was time for the lovely Scottish lads in The Xcerts, the band are given a heroes welcome as they take to the stage as Murray screams “The boys are back in town”. They are back indeed, powering through a hit laden set with the likes of ‘Slackerpop’ and ‘The Kids on Drugs’ get an airing as heads band and fists thump the air. New song ‘Live Like This’ is described by Murray as “not the rockingest record, but feel to dance” and the eager crowd are more than happy to oblige. There’s a change of pace for ‘Aberdeen’ as the crowd sing it back at the band word for word much to the delight of a very pleased looking Murray. Closing with the massive ‘There is Only You’ they manage to sneak in a quick fan engagement proposal (she said yes!). Apparently the band made a bet with the organisers that they would be headlining 2017 and on the back of performances like that they should get to win that bet. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 08 we were promised jetpacks-2

We Were Promised Jetpacks rock out in the Cave with one very eye pleasing light show, my ears were also very pleased with the noises coming out of their collective instruments. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 07 Dave mcpherson-1

Over in the forest, a veteran of the British music scene is taking to the tiny stage armed with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. Inme’s Dave McPherson could barely be more relaxed without lying down as he kicks into his set, and his incredible voice quickly has people transfixed. His songs are well-written, heartfelt and interesting, but the real star star is McPherson’s vocals. His range is fantastic and this intimate, stripped-back setting showcase just how good it is. Cracking stuff. (DM)

Thursday 2kt 09 black peaks acoustic-1

Next its off for a quick jaunt into the woods and over to the Forest stage for an acoustic performance from Black Peaks, yes I know that’s twice in one day but I was so impressed by their set earlier I was intrigued to see how their songs would work when stripped back. There’s a huge turnout and we sit cross-legged  politely taking it all in. Will seems genuinely shocked and humbled by the turn and response to their second set of the day. They open with ‘Hang Them’ which is fittingly about Bankers, ‘Set in Stone’ sounds epic with just Wills immense vocals and the subtle acoustic guitar. They even throw in a cover of Jack Garret’s ‘Falling complete with some sexy saxophone. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 10 ASIWYFA-1

Soon its time for And So I Watch You From Afar and holy shit what a show, the post rock heavy hitters certainly get things going and the tent is rammed with people collectively losing their shit. It’s a massive mosh pit dance party as they smash out ‘Search.Party.Animal’, ‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION’ and ‘Wasps’. They build up an epic wall of noise declaring “Thank fuck for 2000 trees”, thank fuck indeed! A yet untitled new track gets dropped into the mix which fingers crossed mean more new stuff is on the way. They end their stellar performance with ‘The Voiceless’, 4 immensely talented musicians showing us how its done. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 11 frank turner-2

Secrets are not always the best kept things, especially when it comes to who was the secret headline slot over on the Axiom stage. Wandering over from ASIWYFA’s set I find myself at odds with wanting to watch Frank Turner’s set and also be able to hear more than the guys around me ‘beautiful’ singing voices. The tent is absolutely rammed and about 10 people deep around the outside. I only catch the first couple of songs which the entire crowd are singing along to but for someone that’s never really got into Frank hanging outside the tent just isn’t really doing it for me. (HS)

Thursday 2kt 12 the bronx-3

LA’s finest The Bronx are on absolute fire this evening, they always bring the good times and tonight is quite possibly the best form I’ve ever seen them in. Matt takes charge of proceedings from the get go, “No one is in charge of this country, this festival or you mother-fuckers” he exclaims from the stage which means carnage is about ensue. Its raucous from start to finish as they kick things into gear with ‘Heart Attack American’ and Matt is busy whipping up a frenzy in the pit, “15 seconds of madness is all I’m asking’ as he launches himself over the barrier and into crowd.

Every song has a preceding commentary, ‘The Unholy Hand’ is “for all the worker bees out there”, ‘Knifeman’ for “all the mother-fuckers who know it” and ‘6 Days a Week’ to “all the maniacs out there and it goes as Matt proves himself quite the comedian. The ever witty and charming front man is the bastard son of Archer Stirling and Ron Burgundy and he certainly make me smile.

Before they blast out ‘White Pill’ he declares a peace treaty and an aggression free zone claiming he didn’t get to dance on the 4th July as he once more makes his way into the melee orchestrating the crowd like a seasoned conductor. The treaty however comes to an abrupt end as Matt makes a passionate speech for aggression, “only the strongest and bravest will survive!”. You can always count on The Bronx for a good time and its a perfect end to a brilliant first day at 2000 Trees.


Words: Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Words and photographs: Dave Musson

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *