2000 Trees Festival – Day Three, 8th July, 2017

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2000 Trees is proving to be a great festival – again (see our previous years coverage here) and Day Three was full on.

Our highlights

Milk Teeth

Early in the morning, the sun glimmered through the small holes in the tent. It is a usual start to a festival morning; the sun streaming in, you turn over trying to find a comfortable spot on your thin mattress. Like most mornings it seems like sound check is just starting on the next door stage. The drums are starting to be tried, each drum or cymbal receiving a few hits. Then it’s the guitar and after a few moments of silence you expect the vocals to come through. The normal gruff voice is replaced, however, by an angelic female voice. A female lead during a punk rock festival is certainly a welcome change not only for the morning but also for the later show. Milk Teeth is a punk rock grunge band whose mixed vocals add an extra layer of intrigue and beauty to their sound. Taking the stage at 2000 Trees Milk Teeth played an elevated blended set of punk rock and hardcore rock displaying the power behind multiple vocal streams.

Milk Teeth opened with punk hardcore “Brickwork.” The song is a mixture of punk rock and hardcore, opening the stage with a song that is powerful but still universally pleasing. Displaying the full facet of their sound, the opening was a smart choice for the band that has multiple different sorts of sounds and fans. “Crows Feet” closely followed guitar driven “Burger Drop”. “Crows feet” combines a fluctuation of instrumentals with the angelic voice of Becky Blomfield. The female vocals, combined with the male counterpart, give the song an incredible depth that is often passed over in the genre. Uplifted by the female vocals the song takes on a new set of wings, soaring over the crowd in lovely lyrical and melodic waves.

New release “Owning Your Okayness” shows the bands sensitive side; the lyrical content is all about complicated love. Uptempo and upbeat, the song has a fun vibe to it despite dealing with a darker subject matter. The band turned from a more punk side to a full hardcore rock with tune “No Fun.” The electric guitar riffs paired with the emphatic drums brought on the hardcore rock moments. Fans responded to the change in sound with a full mosh pit, clearly enthused by the harder edge of the song. Fan favourite “Swear Jar” and “Kabuki” kept the energy high with songs “Brain Food” and “Vitamins” rounding out the set.

Milk Teeth brought some variety to the 2000 Trees stage. Their music is innovative and intoxicating, producing a live show that was worthy of its large crowd. Their mixture of sonic elements allow the band to explore multiple layers of sound, constructing songs that offer a different take on the usual punk hardcore rock. Filling the tent, Milk Teeth played a standout show that elevated the musicality of the festival weekend.

Gnarlwolves

Where would you most like to spend your Birthday? It seems like a funny question, but certainly many of us have an automatic go to answer. Maybe it is a beach holiday, maybe it is a fancy restaurant surrounded by friends and family. Well for Gnarwolves bass guitarist Charlie, his birthday was celebrated by thousands of fans at 2000 Trees. Gnarwolves is a melodic hardcore band that has been releasing and touring since 2011. The band took to the stage at 2000 Trees for a genre shifting set, and of course a birthday celebration.

Gnarwolves kicked off their set with rock tune “Straitjacket.” The song included typical rock elements with some nice vocal harmonies, a mixture that seemingly should not fit but that Gnarwolves combined perfectly. With a strong rock push “History Is Bunk” came through the speakers. The song has a shift from rock to a more punk tone, bringing about an energy spike from the fans that picked up on the song nuances. Like the fans, it was clear that Gnarwolves where enjoying themselves. Outpouring energy and interacting with fans, the band has a relatable stage presence that is easy to enjoy.

Subdued and sentimental “Community, Stability, Identity” brought about a form of brute rock that was less bombastic than the opening numbers. With massive grit Thom delivered a stunning performance of the tune. Despite its more restrained feel, it was clearly a  favourite as individuals sang along. With an insane guitar solo and drum pick up “Boneyard” was a reviver of energy. As the instrumentals broke in and out of the song, Thom’s voice pierced through giving the song an intersecting tenor. “Bottle to Bottle” and “The Comedown Song” brought some punk rock love, the set ending with tempo shifting “Tongue Surfer.”

The set ended with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday,” sang to an excited Charlie. The band, who have made three appearances at the festival, clearly know how to craft a moving festival set. Their genius lies in their ability to cater to all types of genres and thus all types of fans that are present at the rock based festival. Gnarwolves, with the melodic hardcore tunes that sometimes have a punk tone, wowed fans at 2000 Trees with an incredible set, not a bad way to spend a birthday.

The One Hundred

The One Hundred impressed me greatly. Lead Singer Jacob Field arrived on stage and instantly got the crowd moving around. Their mix of hip-hop, electronic music and metal gives an Enter Shikari and Hacktivist vibe to it; guaranteed to get people rapping along word for word then moshing about aggressively when the screaming and guitars kick in.

Easy to see why I see so much of their merch being sported at gigs; infectious stuff indeed.

Fizzy Blood

Fizzy Blood is a young Leeds based rock band finding their feet and solidifying their sound. It is a task that can be filled with pitfalls and wrong decisions, and yet Fizzy Blood seem to have a pretty good idea of what they want to make and who they want to make it for. With second Ep Summer of Luv the band have continued in their creation of loud raucous rock tunes. A little after their set at 2000 Trees, we chatted with the band about the continuation of creating music and festival life.

Summer of Luv continues Fuzzy Blood’s gritty rock that is both part loud and overwhelmingly entertaining. The process for this second EP was “a little different. For the first EP half of the band wasn’t there, we were friends with the other guys and a part of it. For this EP we went to Manchester for a week. We locked ourselves away and wrote songs in this barn set up. A lot of the time was spent jamming loads of tunes, we would then go back Tim’s and demo it. It was very organic, we all chipped our own bit in.”  The organic nature of the EP certainly comes through; the songs each have their own sense of personality and demeanour, while it is a complete and cohesive work the pieces still retain some level of individual authenticity, or an organic quality that should be prized.

Title track “Summer of Luv” was “written in a super eight motel in Austin Texas during SXSW. The sections sound really separate from one another but it came together. We recorded that one, we where worried about getting it right but it only took two or three takes.” A live sound on the album gives the piece a really lively feel, something that is transported to their live performance. At 2000 Trees hits “Summer of Luv” was upheld by others, such as favourite “Animals.” In their set, the Fizzy Blood lads paired explosive vocals with instrumental breaks, a nice sense of movement to the set. The ability for the lads to shape the energy and mood of the festival was visible, as they added in songs with multiple different tenors and feels. The sound was loud but it wasn’t abrasive, rather like the Ep the live show was a well planned display of the multiplicity of voices and sounds from Fizzy Blood.

So what is up next for the band? Well their summer schedule is loaded with festivals, as many young bands are. With each show being “quiet surreal” the boys will continue to play to large and small crowds, gaining a following with their dynamic and loud rock tunes.

Lower than Atlantis

The final day of a festival can be a little rough. Spending the day’s prior rustling through fields, spending hours in the bright sun, soaking in all sorts of sounds and sights, it all takes a toll on ones body. The only thing to revive one from the stupour is a great gig. A show that elevates and enlightens, that breathes life into your dusty and dull lungs, reviving your spirit and your mind. Lower Than Atlantis, hardcore punk band, brought one such show to the 2000 Trees stage. Mixing extended rock instrumentals with powerhouse songs, Lower Than Atlantis kept spirits high, propelling sleepy listeners to stay awake long enough for a bit of a dance and mosh.

Lower Than Atlantis opened their 2000 Trees set with punk rock light “Had Enough.” With an instrumental introduction the band slowly and methodically ramped up the tempo to culminate in a easy going punk rock sound. As fans held up their hands in praise, slowly swaying with the beat, it seemed Lower Than Atlantis were  merely waking everyone up with the tune. Continuing to ramp up the energy and sound, Lower Than Atlantis slid into “Dumb.” The drum lead tune again exhibited extended instrumental bits that really allow the songs to breath and have life, a nice departure from the sonically laborious tunes from other artists. After a joke about popular TV show Love Island, the boys launched into a sky style intro before breaking into lively punk rock “Emily.”

“Ain’t No Friend” and “Get Over It” intertwined rock and ambient noises to create gigantic immersive sounds. Both songs had anthem like qualities, the songs could easily be used at the climax of emotional movie scenes. With the songs the energy of the crowd soared, with each person in the field growing more invested into the songs. The band sustained with connected energy, playing other rock centered songs including favourite “Work For It.” Finally after such intense punk rock and hardcore rock moments, Lower Than Atlantis slowed down the set ever so slightly, playing tunes that were less electronically stimulating. Tunes such as “Boomerang” as well as others mellowed out the last part of the set.

Lower Than Atlantis brought a dynamic set to the 2000 Trees stage. Delivering a gig that dynamic and lively, the band expertly rejuvenated and recharged a somnolent crowd.

Area 11

Area 11 I’ve heard of a few times previously; their  Enter Shikari esque style mixes upbeat dance soundscapes with heavy guitar riffs and spacey singing from frontman ‘Sparkles’. Upon further listening; their syle is actually more anime and Nintendocore than the post-hardcore bands of Crossfaith; although their are strong resemblances.

Credit for being different and amounting a large fanbase in the proccess. The upbeat nature of their music didn’t stop the moshpits arriving in force.

Slaves

As I walk around the upper stage area at 2000 Trees it seems to be deserted, as if an apocalyptic disease or asteroid has wiped away any evidence of personhood from the ground. Normally this is the scene for the end of the festival, but not on Saturday night. And then it happens; in a flash of lights and sound something sparks at the end of the field. In blazing lights and thunderous sound Slaves begins their set. Like moths flocking to the flame any stray wanderers, like myself, is drawn into the scene. Here we find every single soul from the festival, huddled around the stage in destined adoration, gleaming with excitement for the final headliner.

Punk duo Slaves formed in Kent in 2012. Laurie and Isaac in their short time as a band have created explorative punk music that is often touted to have a gritty blues undertone. Along with the music the band has faced it share of controversy, the least of which comes from their name. Despite their pitfalls and triumphs, Slaves has continued to explore the limits of music and punk music, growing their fan base through the years. At 2000 Trees the band played a decently straightforward set that displayed the energy and strength of the band.

Slaves put on an insanely brilliant ending to 2000 Trees. Like most of the bands from the weekend, Slaves has perfected a stage show that blasts loud sounds with equally vivacious energy. From opening song “Hows Amelia?” to the end, Slaves was first and foremost a band who rocked and rocked loudly. With songs that are typified by a constant beating rhythm and strong guitar, each tune that came from Slaves dripped in monstrous sonic moments. “Fuck the Hi-Hat,” “Take Control,” and “Spit It Out” where just a handful of the songs that highlighted the cacophony of sound that come from Slaves. As the band is only made up of two individuals, the ability to create such an insane sound is both perplexing and extraordinary. Each song seemed to build in intensity, screaming rock that pierced the eardrums of all in range. Slaves put on a show that rumbled and roared, the sound was intense, exactly what you would expect from Slaves.

Along with the insanity of sound came the elaborate stage show. Some bands rely on flashing lights and a little extra stage glitter to wow fans, but Slaves is able to put on a lively show without any of the extra. Tunes like “Sockets” and  “Do Something” perfectly display the type of energy that Slaves produce; the rapid songs provide this almost frenetic outpouring of flashing energy that propel the audience to dance and join in the festivity. Whereas some artists like to create shows that have peaks and valleys, Slaves seems to do this in each song so that by the end of a single you are both exhausted and elated, knowing this process will be repeated over thirty or so songs. The type of frenetic energy seeps into the crowd, giving the show a very unique feel. As each song soars it produces a distinctive manic feeling that only Slaves could create.

Every artist wants a sonically solid show that has a high level of energy; for Slaves it seems that each song produces this desired outcome. With each tune Slaves crafts loud bombastic tunes that, because of their stage presence, also has this electrifying quality. While the sound may not be to everyone’s personal preference, you have to admire the ability to create a very distinctive gig. Slaves closed 2000 Trees in a blaze of sound and performance that left a lasting impression on all who where there.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photography: Neale Hayes

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