2000 Trees Festival: Who to see?
We’ve all been there- you’re at an amazing festival like Cheltenham’s 2000 Trees Festival. You’re with your friends, the sun is beating down, you have a cool drink in hand, and everything should be perfect- if only you could find the perfect band to provide the soundtrack to these moments! Those gaps between the big headline bands can be tough to fill at times, but never fear: this year’s 2000 Trees festival has a packed line-up full of incredible bands who may have been flying under the radar of many people! So here’s a list of some of the must-see bands at this year’s festival to help you pack out your days full of amazing sets from some of the music scene’s best kept secrets!
Raucous trio The Kenneths are about as punk as you get! The band cut their teeth at the end of 2016 with a support slot on the UK leg of pop punk legends Yellowcard’s final world tour, and have since toured the country on extensive runs with both Dead! and Ink. The Kenneths’ live show always pulses with a profoundly infectious, palpable energy, no matter the size of the crowd, from the grizzling guitars of ‘Never Good Friends’ to the undulating, frustration-fuelled ‘I Don’t Want to Go Out with You’. Their gut-punching hooks and rough and unrefined lyricism blends together with frontman Josh Weller’s enigmatic stage presence and visceral sense of wild abandon evident on tracks such as ‘What Happened to My Sex’, while the fiercely pounding heartbeat provided by drummer Aicha successfully keeps the breakneck pace of tracks such as ‘Answer Machine’ teetering on the adrenaline-inducing edge of anarchy. With the recent release of their new EP Ex, The Kenneths are definitely a band whose sound lends itself perfectly to the pressure-cooker environment of small rooms, so definitely get out and see them on the tiny, sweaty stages they own so well!
Calling all pop punk fans- Edinburgh-based quartet Woes are here to provide you with a good dose of bouncy guitar rhythms and sing-along choruses, perfect for those sunny festival days! Never fear though, these guys are not simply cookie cutter reproductions of the big pop punk bands on the UK scene such as Roam or Neck Deep- though they were the opening act for the latter on their UK tour last autumn. Woes have a hidden depth to their music that comes to light on the clever lyricism of tracks such as ‘Worst Friend’ that is sure to resonate even with those to whom modern pop punk is a shadow of the scene it once was. A genuine warmth refracts through the effervescent melody of ‘High On You’, and the fist-pumping anthem of undying love that is ‘Winter Sun’ is guaranteed to be a set-list staple! The band have recently released their second EP Self Help, the crowning glory of which is closer ‘HLB2’ which softly reveals the pure, untarnished talent that this band possesses simmering beneath the surface. In this revitalised era of pop punk, these guys are definitely ones to watch over the coming year!
The Scots are really stepping it up this year, as alt rockers Vukovi have also recently exploded onto the scene with a burst of vibrancy and colour! After releasing their debut self-titled album last year, the band have toured the country extensively, showing off the lurid, dreamlike melody of tracks like ‘Colour Me In’ and the sucker-punch defiance of ‘La Di Da’ to crowds in intimate rooms and festival stages alike! Their intoxicating vividity makes it impossible to draw your eyes away for a single second, as frontwoman Janine bounds around the stage, drawing all eyes with her through the belting chorus of ‘Weirdo’, an anthem for all those girls who never quite fit the mould, through the distorted guitar line that snakes its way through ‘Bouncy Castle’ to the trembling crescendo of ‘He Wants Me Not’. So if it’s a riot of energy, colour and passion you’re looking for, then look no further!
In this age of cookie-cutter bands with a homogenous sound, you’d be hard pressed to find a band more profoundly and unapologetically unique than Nervus. Guitarist and vocalist Em Forster’s defiant, emotionally charged lyrics on tracks such as ‘Medicine‘ blend with keys player Paul‘s endearing, carefree stage presence- a deliberately ironic blend that works seamlessly as a live performance. This dichotomy of sound and message is evident most powerfully in the contrast between the title and atmosphere of tracks such as ‘Sick Sad World’- its melancholy lyrics are given an infectiously upbeat zest by the lively guitars and irresistibly bouncy chorus! Having just released their second record Everything Dies, Nervus are cultivating a close-knit cult following for themselves, made up of the disenfranchised and the lost-and-forgotten, brought together through the power of rousing activism to an uplifting punk rock soundtrack!
One of the most exciting bands to emerge into the spotlight of the post hardcore world this year are Cardiff trio Holding Absence. Their soaring, ethereal sound is peppered with impassioned screams from frontman Lucas Woodland that enliven tracks such as the heart-wrenching ‘Penance’ with a sense of power and untold grandeur. The smooth, rich guitars on ‘Saint Cecilia’, taken from the band’s recent split-EP with metal quintet Loathe are profoundly affecting, and the shifting, adrenaline infused verses of ‘Permanent’ are undercut by the pummelling drums that hit you like breaking waves. Holding Absence’s live show is both intoxicating and immerse- with the self-assured confidence this young trio radiate from the stage, it’s hard to believe that they only have a few released songs to their name. Holding Absence are most definitely a band you want to get your teeth into now, because the huge stages and spotlights of tomorrow are undoubtedly beckoning!