FestivalsLive Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: 2000trees Festival 2023 – Thursday

Photo Credit: Martin Smith

As we woke up in the sunny surroundings of Upcote Farm, it was time for 2000trees to really kick off with the rest of the weekend’s festival goers arriving and all stages open for set for action. Our day began over on the mainstage where we got to see Alcopop! Records favourites Beach Riot bringing the sunshine with their indie-pop tunes as they officially opened the stage for 2023. The guitar work from Rory O’Connor and Cami Menditeguy is pure class as it twirls around our heads in particularly during latest single Tell Me I’m Wrong. There was also an incredibly cute moment as Alcopop! Baby Talon received his own Lion King moment thanks to O’Connor, leaving everyone full of joy and with smiles on their faces. 7/10 NC

Staying on the mainstage, it was Gaffa Tape Sandy’s time to bring some garage-rock to our day and make their Trees debut. Performing tracks including Water Bottle and Meat Head, the dual vocal effort worked faultlessly to pack a musical punch as more attendees flocked towards the stage to get a better look at the onstage action. It was a short and fun set, with a dedication to a wasp who made an appearance onstage and market research for their already recorded new track Dead To Me. With hints of new music on the horizon, the follow-up to their 2019 mini-album Family Mammal could be sooner than we think! 7/10 NC

We’d heard a lot about Salisbury favourites Carsick in the lead up to the festival and it seemed everyone else in the packed tent also had the memo. Showcasing material from their recently released debut EP Drunk Hymns, as soon as the opening for Anaconda Frank filled the tent the chaos begun and Carsick had definitely arrived. Their genre blending sound, Joe Richardson’s almost shouting albeit energetic vocals and top-notch crowd interaction made this one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. Taking the time to dedicate Local Legend to bassist Jack Hardiman‘s dad, who is definitely a local legend it seems, the pits and bodies were whirling around in the pits before the band made their way into the crowd for closing number Is What It Is. 8/10 NC

A Lambrini Girls show is simply put, a wild and interactive experience but it’s also one of the safest spaces we’ve ever been a part of as Phoebe Lunny made it clear everyone within the Neu tent was to look out for and respect each other. With their latest release the You’re Welcome EP coming out earlier this year, it has seen their popularity continue to rise and the standard of their show get better and better each time. Big Dick Energy had the crowd chanting back each word before Lunny made it clear the crowd was boring so instead got into the pit and up onto a crowd members shoulder for a better view with another acting as a mic stand all whilst the crowd were getting down for a huge jump up moment. Using their voices to spread the importance of equal rights for women and queer people, allowing them to step forward and be celebrated for being ‘gay legends’, their sexuality or identity before discussing the ongoing issue of abuse in the music industry and why we need to remember “don’t let anyone squash you”. It’s DIY punk done right with a roughness around the edges which makes it hard to predict what’s going to happen next at any given point. We left feeling empowered, part of something special and like we could tackle anything the day threw our way. 9/10 NC

The beauty of 2000 Trees is the ability to stumble upon bands when you’re working your way across the site and this was the case as we were able to catch part of Kid Kapichi’s in between our interviewing schedule. Approaching the stage, we were met with a huge inflatable burger, (apparently the best thirty quid they’d spent) going across the crowd in between a sea of crowd surfers. The anthemic New England packed a politically charged lyrical punch as Jack Wilson commanded the crowd’s full attention and received every ounce of it. Filthy guitar riffs, pounding drumlines and humorous song introductions “Imagine you’re at grandmas, had the prawn cocktail and roast beef, now you’re at the pavlova” came before Death Dips. Closing with Smash The Gaff, it was dedicated by Wilson to the kid in a ‘Smash The Gaff’ t-shirt, a gesture which made this a heartwarming ending to an explosive set from Hastings finest. We have a feeling 2023 could be an exciting year for Kid Kapichi, we’d definitely recommend keeping your eyes peeled. 8/10 NC

Back at the Neu tent, it was time for BEX to introduce herself to those stumbling into the set after Kid Kapichi’s set. Those men in the pit who might not have been behaving received their warning early on as she asserted her dominance and made it clear who was boss of the tent.  Don’t Date The Devil stands out as one of the catchiest parts of BEX’s set exploring the struggles which take place within a relationship as it flutters from a sense of innocence to a reminder of the less than desirable parts of a relationship. BEX is unfiltered and a reminder of what more up and coming artists need to be like as they begin their way through the musical ranks. 7/10 NC

No Devotion are a bit of a supergroup with tonight’s line-up formed of Lee Gaze, Stu Richardson, Geoff Rickly and for tonight’s show Kids in Glass Houses drummer Philip Jenkins. From Cardiff, London and New York, this was a special appearance and a case of third time lucky after a number of failed attempts at making it to 2000trees. Unfortunately, the sound over at The Axiom wasn’t working in the band’s favour as we tried to distinguish between the heavy instrumental musical backing and Rickly’s fading vocals. Performing material from their duo of albums; Permanence and No Oblivion, they closed their set with a triple threat of tracks from their 2015 debut album Permanence; Permanent Sunlight, Stay and Grand Central, this was where the set singalong moments came as the joy on Richardson and Rickly’s faces was clear. You couldn’t help but feel the band deserved a much bigger crowd for their set here, but for those in that tent their emotive tracks made the long wait more than worth it. 7/10 NC

Everyone loves a little bit of The Wonder Years and over on the mainstage in the glorious sunshine, it’s the perfect setting for some summery pop-punk. Bringing the emotion came with Wyatt’s Song (Your Name) and Low Tide; the latter of which the band explained looks at being in a deep depression and just wishing the world would end during the pandemic times. The insights into the stories behind the tracks allowed fans both old and new to find out more about the band and develop an instant connection with them. Confirming they’ll be celebrating the ten-year anniversary of The Greatest Generation with the UK tour later this year, the power hit of Passing Through A Screen Door and There There amplified excitement for the tour. There were finger points, there was dramatic chanting of the lyrics and there were emotions in the bucketload. Soupy’s emotive vocals during You’re The Reason I Don’t Want The World To End helped to round the set off with a bang, telling us about the power of leaders and how small changes can make a huge impact. TWY really did come out swinging. 8/10 NC

Scottish quartet Dead Pony have been rapidly gaining attention since the release of their debut EP War Boys last year. With 2000trees the first of their festival performances over the weekend, the band were heading straight back up to Scotland after the show to open up the main stage at TRNSMT but this didn’t stop them giving everything for the Trees crowd. With this being their first time at the festival, the band’s shock at the number of people in the tent was clear which in turn led to an energetic set of their finest material. Showcasing tracks including their catchy new single MK Nothing complete with Anna Shield’s power punch dance routine as seen in the single’s music video. Whether you knew of Dead Pony or had stumbled upon them, their take on Nelly Furtado’s classic Maneater was one everyone could and was singing along to as their heavy spin on the 2006 hit rammed it up, introduced pounding drumlines and had us all up on our feet jumping. Providing reminders to be true to yourself and never fit in and giving us a chance to cry out little hearts out to All Dressed Up For Nothing soundtracked by the soothing tones of Shields. Closing their set on singalong friendly 23, Never Me it felt like everyone there had fallen under the spell of Dead Pony as we followed their every demand and went wild as they got up close and personal with the energised crowd. 9/10 NC

Skindred are a festival staple. The quintet are undeniably one of the most fun live bands you will ever witness, and their Main Stage set at 2000trees is one that brings the whole crowd together in harmony. The band blast through an array of fan-favourites, including Kill The Power, Gimme That Boom and Nobodyadding some extra spice to Rat Race with a singalong of Oasis hit Wonderwall, as well as Pressure, which incorporates AC/DC classic Back In Black. Frontman Benji Webbe commands the crowd with ease and ensures the energy doesn’t dip for even a millisecond. The crowd erupts into Skindred‘s signature Newport helicopter during closing song Warning, concluding what has been one of the highlights of the day. 9/10 HG

People spill into The Forest Stage for Bat Sabbath – if you’re new to the name, that’s a Black Sabbath tribute band by none other than Cancer Bats. The set rips through eight punk-infused Sabbath covers, including Paranoid, Iron Man and War Pigs, which go down an absolute treat with the crowd as the sun peaks down through the trees of the shady forest. Whether you’re a diehard Black Sabbath or Cancer Bats fan, or whether you’re just there for a good time, there’s no doubt that Bat Sabbath are one of the most fun tribute bands ever. If you find yourself in their presence, you won’t want to miss it. 8/10 HG

As our night drew to a close, we caught some of NOISY’s set over in the Forest which had been transformed into a wild nightclub thanks to the phenomenal light show and electronic tracks being offered up. With their set overlapping tonight’s headliners, it was a real shame that they didn’t get the crowd size they deserved as we just know everyone would have loved to end their Thursday with a Forest rave. Showing off their drum and bass vibes through latest single DESIRE, the crowd who were there made up for it dancing along to the infectious beats. 7/10 NC

Our headliner of choice tonight was Los Angeles punk outfit The Bronx and when we arrived to a packed tent, we knew we’d made the right move. Opening their set with White Shadow, we were taken on a journey down memory lane through their extensive twenty year back catalogue including Under The Rabbit and The Unholy Hand. Knifeman marked a special moment in the set as the pits opened up like a hole to the underworld, bodies were flying above the crowd, the temperature was rising and Matt Caughthran headed down into the crowd to get involved. You couldn’t help but feel that the band weren’t expecting the reception they received as Caughtran explained “Since the first Bronx show as a punk-rock kid never in a million years did I think I’d go to England. Let alone be playing with my best fucking friends” as they looked on beaming out to the sea of fans both old and new. Throughout the set we weren’t given a chance to breathe as the tempo remained fast-paced, powerful and the grit of the rhythm guitars ran through our veins. The whole set was as they explained a “baptism by Bronx” as we all felt reborn again after the experience of the chaos. The Bronx’s set was an example of slick musicianship and what years of practice and hard work looks like as Caughthran explaned “punk, hardcore and metal is a lifetime commitment from the womb to the tomb” and everyone in the vicinity of that tent was onboard. 9/10 NC

Doom trap extraordinaire Mimi Barks brings a whole new level of intensity to The Forest stage. There’s an air of mystique as the pitch black forest is illuminated with a trippy light show – it’s the perfect setting to witness her live. Barks’ vocal range is nothing short of impressive, while her band deliver such a fierce wall of sound it vibrates through everyone and everything present. The crowd is raring to go for the likes of DEADGIRL, the title track of her latest mixtape, RAD, SAW and SUICIDE, as energy-fuelled mosh-pits complement pummelling breakdowns. There’s a lot of excitement around Mimi Barks and it’s clear to see why. We wouldn’t be surprised if we see her on much bigger stages in the near future. 8.5/10 HG

Written By: Hannah Gillicker and Nicola Craig

Photo gallery featuring Ithaca, Bilk, Unpeople, Kid Kapichi, BEX, Bob Vylan, The Wonder Years, Dead Pony, SOFTPLAY.

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar