The Birmingham Live team have been at 2000 Trees Festival at Upcote Farm and had a such a great time, we have a full three day review to report on each day!
Our day one highlights…..
Puppy were a band I was very keen to see after coming across them on Youtube one night and admiring their older style. Reminscient of Deftones; they mix Stoner rock elements, slow riffs with almost whispered lyrics to create a deeper vibe to their music; suddenly bursting with energy at times with fast solos and shouted choruses.
The up-and-coming punk trio from Exeter have gained popularity through the festival circuit since 2012 and their highly praised debut album ‘From Caplan to Belsize’. They played Glastonbury this year and after their impressive showing at 2000 Trees; in which they played with confidence and grew their ever growing fanbase, are due to play Reading/Leeds later this summer.
Comparisons can be made with Milk Teeth lyrically; dealing with issues of everyday life in young adults.
Pulled Apart by Horses – Forest Set
One of the best bands of the weekend for me. Their Nirvana and even Foo Fighters inspired heavy rock goes down very well with the crowd whether they know the band or not; the crowd was rowdy. It was good to see the band let loose and go crazy on stage while performing also.
Rock solid chords and catchy lyrics.
The popular UK Pop Punk band came onto stage with considerable energy; lead singer Alex Costello and Guitarist Sam Veness jumping and moving around stage whenever possible. Comparisons can be made with Neck Deep; a newer form of Pop Punk with strong sing-a-long vibes and catchy hooks. They command the crowd well.
Mallory Knox – Forest
A cool breeze swept through the forested patch of earth where about three hundred fans perched on the ground, straining their necks to see the tiny wooden stage. It was a muggy Thursday evening. Weary from setting our journeys, and from setting up our tents, we sluggishly basked in the shaded forest. Two figures emerged, clad in all black; they played an acoustic set that was part power, part magic.
Mallory Knox, a Cambridge alternative rock band, is not necessarily known for their acoustic work. In fact, it would be safe to say, that the band rarely dips their toes in the acoustic pool. Yet at 2000 Trees the forest stage is set for acoustic masterpieces that pleasantly alter the normal set list of bands. Mallory Knox took to the stage with a little hesitation, and yet wowed fans despite their lack of acoustic expertise. Mallory Knox opened with smooth alt rock acoustic “Giving It Up.” In the setting the sound had a poetic flow, with bluesy undertones the song had a lovely sense of depth and texture that it otherwise does not posses. It was the perfect introduction to the set, setting the tone for the evening.
“Better Off Without You” and “Shout At the Moon” followed. With enduring simplicity the songs brought a classic rock feel to the stage. Fans were clearly into it, raising their hands in adoration and singing loudly during both choruses. After a few other songs that continued the rock vibes, Mallory Knox ended the set with “Oceans.” With elongated vocals and a bit of an upbeat vibe the song was the perfect ending to the short acoustic set.
Feed the Rhino
Coming from Kent, hardcore punk rock band Feed the Rhino are everything you think of when you hear of a hardcore punk rock band. A band for six years, Feed the Rhino has crafted and perfected their blending of sounds to create dynamic and lively shows that find massive crowds moshing vigorously and a tidal wave of crowd surfing. Insanely loud, so loud that your insides hurt, and vivaciously energetic the band played an outstanding show at the 2000 Trees festival during the first night of festivities.
Feed the Rhino opened with an ambient electronic intro that built into a rock landslide. It was an interesting opening for a band that you affiliate more with hardcore rock than EDM inspired tunes, and yet it oddly seemed to work. As the crowd stirred singer Lee launched into “Behind the Pride.” Immediately fans where engaged and following the bands lead. Crowd surfers where up, a pit had formed, and the outlaying fans nodded in syncopated beats to the hardcore tune. “The Burning Sons” brought a metal rock presence to the tent. With strong sonic elements and elongated vocals the song has a monster feel to it. Bouncing along the audience was hooked, transfixed by the cacophony of sound and sights present on the stage.
2015 hit “Featherweight” offered a rhythmic rock, with a slower intro that built to a hardcore blast of sound the song displays the range and dynamics of Feed the Rhino. In an all out frenzy fans pulled out rubber boats and crowd surfed to their hearts content. It is perhaps the most engaged I have seen a fan base at 2000 Trees, so clearly Feed the Rhino is doing something right. Lee jumped into the crowd after the song, crowd surfing and feeding off the energy. Before the next song started the band formed a pit that stretches the length of the tent, clearly they are not going to let the crowd gain their breath but are instead pushing for high intensity at every moment.
As the pit forms “The Caller of the Town” breaks out, and bodies collide in the pit. The alt rock undertone of the song seems a tad lighter than the others, but is still full of the frenzied hardcore energy that is a staple for Feed the Rhino. “Tides” and “New Wave” end the night. The songs continue the whirl of energy and bodies being thrown into the air, it seems that everyone wants to rush the stage. Feed the Rhino certainly don’t seem to disperse the fans love, allowing a crowd surfer in a beer hat to dance on stage, a reward for his valiant effort.
Rock shows are meant to be lively, pots of swirling energy punctuated by pits and crowd surfing. The Feed the Rhino show is perhaps the best demonstration of what a rock show is; with grandiose sonic moments punctuated by fans expression of excitement, the show was unparalleled in its vigour and power. Crafting textured tunes Feed the Rhino may play loud but they also play smart, playing tunes that fans adore that sustain an insane energy. Feed the Rhino destroyed the 2000 Trees stage, giving a show that was hard to top during the weekend.
Dinosaur Pile Up
It is hard to miss Dinosaur Pile Up’s fans, mostly because the lot walks around with inflatable dinosaurs that eventually make their way onto the stage. The alternative rock band, formed almost ten years ago, got their interesting name from the film King Kong. After numerous band changes and shifts Dinosaur Pile Up have come to some sort of stability, creating iconic tunes that have evolved over their years of creation. With intersecting instrumentals and a torrid range of energetic moments, Dinosaur Pile Up rocked the 2000 Trees stage.
As we entered the tent there was an obvious sense of excitement; fans had been planning to see this show the entire day and so the crowd developed early. As the fans streamed in they brought with them all sorts of dinosaur apparel and toys, and one dude had a “Play Wonderwall” flag, which seemed fitting for the festival. The lights dimmed and the band walked onto the stage amidst thunderous applause. “Birds & Planes” was the first song to stream through the speakers. A rock edge the song was lively and exciting, the fans could not clap on beat but other than that the energy was high and the people excited. The fever really piqued when “Arizona Waiting” started. Obviously a fan favorite, the song had more driving instrumentals and lovely vocal breaks that mixed nicely with the punk edge.
“Red and Purple,” with its darker undertone and rock pick up post bridge, added some texture and nuance to the set. “White Tshirt and Jeans,” a punk pop mix, was followed by punchy “Peninsula.” Both songs gave younger fans a chance to dance wildly, with a little more of a pop edge they were light and fluffy, an excellent counterpoint for some of the more heavy rock tunes. One such rock song was “Nurture” which came through next. The biting rock featured an epic drum solo that was hard to turn from. “Derail” and “Might as Well” where followed by closer “Rock n Roll.”
Dinosaur Pile Up served an entertaining set that displayed the full breath of their sonic glory, all while delighting fans. Their easy music juxtaposed their more rock edge, giving the set a really nice flow and transition. With something for everyone, they also curated an excellent festival show that attracted every person passing by. 2000 Trees was blessed by Dinosaur Pile Up, whose ever shifting sound complimented the festival vibe.
Ask any rock fan who their idols are and chances are that Guns N’ Roses makes it onto the list at some point. The band institutionalised modern rock in many ways. So imagine then, as a fan of the godfathers of rock, if you got the chance to open for them. Young Guns is a band that does not have to imagine it, because they lived it. Opening for Guns N’ Roses as well as Bon Jovi over the years are only some of the accomplishments on the bands lengthy list. The alternative hard rock band has a handful of albums under the belt that combined with their touring history makes them well-seasoned professionals. Playing at 2000 Trees, the band wowed fans with a mixture of sights and sounds that prove why they have been so popular all of these years.
Opening with a handful of uptempo punk rock tunes, Young Guns immediately filled the stage with a high voltage performance that made audiences dance in a trance from the very first song. Their stage presence is undeniable, with insatiable energy they dance and play with such fever that one is immediately sucked in and waiting for each new beat. Clear fan favorite “Weight of the World” came after the first few songs. The driving punk rock tune had fans singing loudly and excitedly, each note being screamed from their lungs. “Bulletproof” brought the same fan enthusiasm; the songs floating uptempo vibe has a little 80s pop rock infused into it, an interesting sonic mixture.
“Buried” and “Bones” continued the energetic rock, both songs punctuated by intermittent instrumentals that really moved the songs. Keeping with the 2012 material single “You Are Not” was a transcendent midtempo song with big sounds. 2016 stunner “Living in a Dream is So Easy” brought a really lovely slow melodic ambient energy that included some big drum moments. The song offered a nice break from the uptempo rock that filled the set, displaying as well Young Guns ability to create sentimental tunes that are poignant and lovely. The night ended with a few more songs, including “You Are Not” and a Foo Fighters cover.
Young Guns is an incredible band whose back history of songs is monstrous. Their sound is perfect alternative rock, with some songs displaying a lighter side and some displaying the hardcore rock. With an incredible stage show and an ability to really involve the audience, Young Guns put on a vivid display at the 2000 Trees set.
Pulled Apart by Horses
To play the main stage at a festival is a dream for any band. The main stage marks this level of “making it” that many strive for. For Pulled Apart By Horses the main stage was their playground, using the platform to put on a stunning show of indie alternative rock greatness. The Leeds based band brought their new album, The Haze, and a slew of high-octane songs to 2000 Trees making the main stage a party platform.
Pulled Apart By Horses opened with high energy, upbeat songs that where filled with interesting instrumentals. The dance tunes where part disco, part rock, with a concentration placed on pristine instrumentals and psych undertones. “The Big What If” and “I Punched A Lion in the Throat” where joined by a few other songs to open the set with this liveliness and animation. Whereas some of the other bands chose to open with oppressive rock, Pulled Apart By Horses offered an easier transition so that people could really get into a festive mode. Transitioning the band played a handful of songs that amped up the rock. In anthematic ways the band displayed their bombastic rock songs, including fan favorite “Flash Lads.” Guitar driven and breaking sonic tension with instrumental rifts, each of the songs built in anthem like proportions filling the stage.
Single “Hotel Motivation” served as the halfway song for the set. Lobbing beers into the crowd, it was clear that the band wanted to continue the party with the typical straightforward rock song. With an emotional arch the song had a lovely flow that had enough interest to keep everyone up and dancing. “What’s Up Dude?” and a superb cover of “Helter Skelter” where mixed in with a few other singles to close the set. Each song brought a myriad of vocals, perfected harmonies that where accompanied by the high voltage rock. With crowd surfers swaying in the night, the band played their final songs and left the main stage. Too exhausted to be upset, people sauntered back to their tents reminiscing in the bliss of the gig.
Pulled Apart By Horses crafted an amazing new album with The Haze, so it is no surprise that their live show is as dynamic and full of life as the album. Mixing in different sonic elements and tones, all under bridged by the heavy rock hand, Pulled Apart By Horses lavished excitement and vigor on a weary crowd. Crushing their main stage performance at 2000 Trees, Pulled Apart By Horses displayed why they are one of the most loved bands in the indie alternative rock scene and why their career will continue to flourish for many years to come.
Later that evening Mallory Knox would take the stage in a more normal setting. Without an acoustic flair the band played an alternative rock set that was powerful and poignant. “Wired” was the first up, the midtempo crowd pleaser had a nice instrumental overlay that moved the song and brought everyone to his or her feet for a little dancing. The song displays not only Mallory Knox’s ability to create lyrically powerful songs but also their talent of musicianship that allows them to build really strong sonic moments. “Better Off Without You” was up next. As a banana float bounced around the pit, it is a music festival after all so weird things happen to pop up, the band launched into the rock song with dissonant vocals. “California” and “Getaway” kept the intense energy alive with “Beggars” and “Falling In Love” closing the set.
Mallory Knox is an immensely talented alternative rock band whose diverse sets at 2000 Trees displayed their ability to play any stage in any style. While they may be a bit more comfortable when playing their full instrumental sound, the band certainly entertained fans with both areas of sound. With thrilling energy and powerful tunes Mallory Knox displayed immense talent and fortitude at 2000 Trees, electrifying the crowds.
A great opening day, full coverage on day two follows.
Reviewer: Kylie McCormick and Neale Hayes
Photography: Neale Hayes