Post-festival, festival optimism (A 2000 Trees review)

2019 is dead, long live 2019. 

Beans on Toast once sang, “Post Festival, Festival Blues” to summerise his post-festival come down, and I know the feeling well enough, but 2000 Trees 2019 has filled me with so much optimism it’s unbelievable. 

Kudos for improving the family vibe and kids offerings. Rebellion Extinction, recycling points for cans, spoken word stage and no-camping in the arena were all fantastic improvements to this year’s experience.

It really is just a festival of love and friends (and lost evenings…) an absolutely unmatched vibe that you just know you’re going next year regardless of the lineup. The people, friends new and old who make the festival, the line up just becomes our opportunity to have some fun. And what fun we had.

After missing the Thursday because of child birthdays, I arrived at the site wayy too late to even catch Nigel’s Sad Song Co. busk set. Despite him calling me Simon when I saw him (totally forgiven) it apparently went really well which is the least comforting report you want. Though I’m glad it went well for him. 

Rest of Thursday night was a haze, as I “drank to catch up” before making my back to my car, and this is the best tip I can offer – Sleep in your car! Futon mattress in the back of an estate with the seats down is bliss. More silent in a field in the middle of nowhere than being at home! And no drunks stumbling into your tent guide ropes. Win win win win win.

Mike Barham finally got the reception he deserved from his busk spot on the Under The Bridge stage on Friday night. The 12 people directly in front of him spent the whole festival thereafter walking past our campsite telling him how fantastic he was. And to be fair he really, really was. The start of more things to come? Let’s hope so. 

Tom Mallard and I played a game of best heckles during his set, and it’s fair to say chanting “One! More! Song!” after they’ve played their first is my favorite. 

Trees was introduced to 11-can Kieran. Yes, I managed to actually drink that many cans of Thatchers and not be sick, despite the very generous donation by Georgie for the ride on the Waltzers. Dan couldn’t hack it and was well on the way to pulling a whitey by this point. I’m a fucking delight when I’m drunk.

IMG_20190712_132246.jpg

Friday’s highlight came early for me. Brand New Friend belted out their 30 minute set without too much banter letting the chorus’ doing the talking. I literally flipped my lid. Since they played for us in Swindon supporting Sean McGowan, I’ve been listening to their album non-stop. It’s utterly perfect from start to finish, and their set too was just perfect. Ben Sydes had already started the day in the nicest possible way, making a long overdue to the official line up in the Forest session. This was after a quick interview with us on the BBC Introducing session on the new Word Stage. Thanks Rich! Always love a good opportunity to regale an audience with the story of how I delivered my child in the back of a car!

I caught Pengshui on the way to Brand New Friend, and they were awesome. Grime-punk? (Basement Jaxx-y) Nothing else quite like it currently on the circuit and in that blistering form of their early days. Superb.

Barry got to be Rocksoxgen Thief again, which is always a pleasure and the first time I think I’ve seen the full band show since last years album (?) and he too was also in superb form. Then came itoldyouiwouldeatyou (our 15 year anniversary headliners!) arguably the band I was most excited about playing. Their busk set the night before was superb, and they managed to play a bunch of songs then, that didn’t make the electric set, so was well worth catching both. Alexi was in fine form and seems to do well with the restraint of not being the focus in the band.

IMG_20190712_150247.jpg

You’ll notice a FTNA sign there… Not entirely sure what that’s all about, but it seems to keep people entertained on Twitter. They were superb though, and thoroughly deserving of the big shout outs I was giving their drummer Sean during our BBC interview. (Hope to have the audio in the coming weeks to share myself.) 

Having caught the end of Sean McGowan‘s set, and dinner, we went for a little stomp like you do a Trees preparing for the inevitable Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun love in, featuring Andy Oliveri on bass duties. They played wall to wall bangers, and despite some awkward squealing were superb. Side shows performers from All Ears Avow Jake Wilcox’ on guitar tech duties, a happy Frank Turner and original bassist Phil, who missed this show. The set probably confirming that Jim’s music is now folklore and timeless.

IMG_20190712_172127.jpg

Allusinlove were good if not particularly memorable for me, as I probably had one ear on getting in the zone for The Wildhearts. A band I haven’t seen for ages, yet had the pleasure of hosting Ginger last year in Swindon. A faultless set with a guest Frank appearance (he gets about) and a rousing finale of I Wana Go Where The People Go, which on reflection there was a few legacy acts / songs I wanted to hear, this was one of them. Kinda wanted Anthem too, but won’t complain, I’m sure they’ll play it in Bath in a few months.

IMG_20190712_183308.jpg

As It Is were on next on the main stage, which I will quite happily never sit through ever again. Only wanting to eat food kept me there. Indoor Pets were delightful though, and the first time I had seen them since the name change and playing support for us to Ash a few years ago. They still have all the indie-boy charm and tunes. IMG_20190712_212154.jpg

Really sorry for the terrible picture quality. It’s been a joke for years and I don’t see it ever improving. 

So, the end of the day bought us to Mongol Horde and their 21st show. It’s always a pleasure to see drum giant Ben Dawson, but today he was outshone only by the glitterball that came out to sing. Another absolute banger of a set, fantastic light show ideas that I’m going to try and rip off at our Gender Roles gig in Chippenham in a few weeks and I got to scream my guts up to Million Dead cover, Smiling at Strangers on Trains. Rob and I ruined our voices in that moment, but I am delighted I managed to remember every wordy word Frank put in that song which kick-started my love for MD & latterly everything Frank.

IMG_20190712_221338.jpg

Then it was a rush back to the busk stage and getting ready to heckle Mike. Sydes had a hard task to follow, but he did (Mike slew the crowd with a City & Colour cover, Dangerzone and the best quips and comebacks to a passing crowd you will see & hear). Sean pulled a blinder and then I believe I went disco dancing at the silent disco. We met a nice medic there who gave us a nice rundown of the top 10 best injuries the festival had had so far, which was sobering. A slow walk back to my car & slice of silence finished day 2 at Trees around 2.30am. Perfect. 

PHEW, what a day. I’ll give you part two tomorrow if you’re interested.  

 

 

 

Advertisements

Grace Petrie plays legendary local folk club

Well lap my poons, I thought I had formally told you all about Grace Petrie coming to town but I was talking a load of rubbish. 

SO RE-CAP, Grace Petrie spent 2017 mostly touring with Billy Bragg playing weeeally big venues, before heading off on a Autumn / Winter jaunt with comedian Josie Long called “A Very Lefty Xmas” and releasing her latest album “Heart First Aid Kit” 

Reigning from Leicester, I cannot help but make the link that after the cities football club won the Premier league, she continued the cities success and took it on the road. 

Very political Grace is perhaps further left or more vocal than Chris T-T. Musically she pitches somewhere around the inevitable comparison to tour mate Billy Bragg, but with the early Billy fire in her belly. I’d say, if you didn’t know her, but were a fan of Chuck SJ Hay who regularly plays for us, then you’d be in safe company with Grace. If you’re into your political folk, then Robb Johnson is your other obvious comparison. Oh & she’s a staunch Labour support, advocate & activist, so, want to hear a voice of a movement, then look no further. 

Now, since booking this show & sticking it on sale, Sheer & #GigFam favourite Gaz Brookfield has also added her to his usual Xmas Bristol gig party, this year being held at SWX. So, as per, we are slap bang in the centre of our scene. 

Grace is also a natural fit for the venues regular identity. Trowbridge Village Pump Folk club regularly hosts Grace’s peers and contemporaries. It’s unusual for us to veer so close to what they do, as I don’t like to step on their toes, but I felt confident that Grace was closely linked enough to our scene as it to not be an issue & they’ve come out in full support of our gig, so I’d like to expend my thanks to them. 

She even once did a Channel 4, Random Acts video, I’ll leave that with you here…

Now, with a run down of our headliner, let’s quickly look at the support – Jim Lockey

Jim is the same Jim from Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun. Jim & Sheer go waaaaaayyyy back to like 2004 or 5 or something. Jim has played countless shows for us, his album “Songs About Death” is a solid gold scene classic and he’s the most performed artist at 2000 Trees Festival. His shows at the forest sessions are legendary. 

For an idea of what he sounds like, here’s his cover of Bright Eyes “Landlocked Blues” still a firm favourite of mine.

I haven’t yet cleared it…. but opening the show will be non other than another Gaz linked act, and someone I’m very fond of, Chuck SJ Hay. I believe they now go by the stage name SJ Hay. Go follow & them on Instagram, and like, root about – That’s part of the fun isn’t it, discovering acts & stuff??

Friday 25th May 2018
@ The Village Pump, Trowbridge 
Doors 8pm. 
8.30 – 9 – Chuck SJ Hay
9.15 – 9.45 – Jim Lockey
10 – 11.15 – Grace Petrie
16+
Tickets £8 adv from WeGotTickets, or £10 otd. 

Join us on Facebook & Such over here….. 

Ben Marwood and I.

Ben Marwood has a new album out, and I love it – Here’s why. 

It’s not because he comes from my family home town of Reading, or that we met through a mutual appreciation of the band Jetplane Landing, or that we took that “meet someone off the internet” risk, which panned out nicely, rather than a bloody and viscous death rape.

No, I love Ben, because from the first instant I heard his music, I believed in it.

Listening back to the first EP I heard, his second “Give Up“, I’m still struck that this songwriter, appears to be writing songs straight from my own heart. I literally felt like, YES! I’ve Felt Like THAT, or I Believe That! (and listening back now, and comparing with the new album, his voice has improved too)

His honesty, not only in his music, but when we spoke about stuff was always genuine, it was like meeting a musical kindred spirit.

It was exactly all that, that led me to invite Ben to perform on a bill with Small Town America‘s (STA)  indie-Scot’s Fickle Public in Devizes. STA are a label run by the previously mentioned Jetplane Landing.

I loved how even in his early stages still, Ben had a dedicated fan base, who would travel long distances to watch him – one such fan, Jacqui Sadler, actually filmed his performance and gave me a copy. These days were my formative promotion days too, at only my 4th or 5th gig, I was already meeting all kinds of good and honest person, the kind of people that help foster and inspire  my love for putting on live music.

To this end, I grabbed the first chance I could, to give Ben a significant support slot – Opening for personal favourite musician, Frank Turner. Frank was similar to me in a sense that I related to, or was inspired by his style, his words and his whole genuine approach.

Ben and Frank hit it off right away. A few more supports for me down the line, and they are firm friends. Frank actually wrote a song called PASS IT ALONG, in which he name checks Ben and states “Here’s to the ones, who have to take the stage,and sing the truth”. Frank clearly saw what I saw, and had a much better way of expressing it. I can only express it, by my love for that song and Ben’s own music.

Other people saw it too, and Ben has since got the title of nicest man in music, a thoroughly deserved one.  The only reason Mr Grohl has the edge, is because his fans haven’t met Ben.

Fast forward a few years, and Ben’s on his 2nd full length. He’s played some amazing shows, toured some fantastic tours and seen some incredible sights. He’s been able to release music he believed in, bringing Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief and Jim Lockey to my attention. Two further acts I’ve since fell in love with and given shows to.

His new album BACK DOWN, for me is some of his best and most important music, the culmination of nearly 9 years work – which has seen Ben perform over a dozen times for me in Devizes alone. 

I don’t need to waste too much time telling you it’s an album really worth checking out. The sleeve notes did that within 30 seconds, stating that he canned the first batch of songs. Literally nothing short of brilliance made it through. 

It comes in under 40 minutes too, another sure fire sign of quality. It flies past and you instantly hit play again. It has comedic moments and some dark bits, chucking in some glockenspiel and pedal steel guitar for giggles too. It’s the sound of someone having fun and making music, and frankly, It Rocks. 

10/10. Sheer Music.  

Here’s a nostalgic video of my first Lamb shows (The room has changed A LOT since!)