Frank Turner, Metronomy, Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun, And So I Watch You From Afar, Midnight Mile

Modesty Blaise 16/07/2010

So, 2000 Trees is over and the post-festival blues has begun to sink in for all of us, but what a weekend it was! A weekend filled with some of the best musical talent around at the moment; some, but thank the lord not too much rain and of course all of our friends. As for my little group after a rather late departure from Cheltenham we arrived on the Thursday night just as the skies were turning black, not just with rain but with the fall of night as well. Due to these factors (and absolutely nothing to do with the bottle of wine I drank on the journey) after two and half hours of struggling to be put up the worlds most complicated tent we aborted the mission and went back home for one last night in our own beds before the real fun could begin bright and early on Friday.

The next morning came around and with slightly sore heads we sped up to Upcote Farm threw a pop-up tent on the floor and ran off to feed our hungry ears on some of the delicious Midnight Mile (who, in case you were interested to know, have just released their EP: Silence Brings The Morning which can be downloaded for free, here! Their style is softly spoken Folk love songs that ooze sincerity and make your hand itch for someone to hold it. All my friends ran off to Tubelord during this set but I stayed as this band soothes my soul and makes my heart smile, the perfect antidote to any hangover and the perfect beginning to anyone's musical day.

Next I went to catch-up with my pals for something entirely different - Tubelord. Admittedly I only caught their last two songs but one of those happened to be the almighty, I am Azerrad. A fidgeting and epic modern rock song that is as much excitable as it is memorable and although I was stood all on my tod with only an SLR for company I thrashed my hair around with the best of them. For fans of a vocal hook and sporadic builds to soaring and heroic heights; this is the future of Rock. Let the lords of tube be the lords of your lugholes!

And So I Watch You From Afar came on after Tubelord, they are a band that I was introduced to at the beginning of this year, recommended by another instrumental and post-rock loving friend who I am forever indebted to. Their performance was mind-blowing; the way the absolute storm of noise came to sudden crashing halt was like watching wild horses charge into the misty dawn (OK, rather dramatic I know but this is Instrumental we're talking about here, it's serious stuff!). After this frankly exhausting performance my entire being was crying out for some rest so I had to commit one of the most shameful festivals sins, for this I apologise, I took a nap…

Some hours later I awoke to the unmistakeable hook heavy Folk masterpiece that is Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun's - Waitress. Still slightly bleary eyed I made my away over to the Leaf Lounge which was already bursting at the seams with the Sun's loyal followers, so much to my disappointment I loitered at the back. However this band really are all about the live show, invading the audience during songs and Jim's voice bellowing away from the fire in his belly. It just shows how much of a mark this band have made in their hometown as pretty much every single Cheltonian at 2000 Trees was in the tent for Jim and the boys; I must thank them for being so awesome because this is how I found my friends.

So, united once again I was told stories of how epic Pulled Apart By Horses were and various other events that had taken place in my absence whilst in the arms of Morpheus; remember kids - don't fall asleep while the bands are on, big mistake! To ease my annoyance at missing one of the very reasons I came I went for a wonder with my photographer pal in search of some tasty bites when all of a sudden the dulcet tones of Goldheart Assembly come streaming towards my ears. I ferociously grabbed my friend's hand and pulled her through the crowd up to the front of the stage, it had completely evaded my memory that the Assembly would be playing and what a pleasing surprise it was. Their performance was quite flawless with each song brimming with a vintage quality reminiscent of the musical greats. Still pretty Folky yet they have very classic quality to them mirroring a bit of Neil Young.

Hunger then lead me to the main stage, as there was an array of delicious looking and smelling grub. With curry, a vegetarian stall and the ever-delicious Pie Minister my salivating mouth could hardly decide what would quench it's thirst. My pocket was pretty happy too as staying true to the 2000 Trees ethic everything was very reasonably priced -hungry and broke, two things I enjoy not being. As I nommed away Metronomy hacked up the main stage with their infectious and big dancing Indie. Watching the crowd throbbing as a whole from afar was quite a sight and kudos to them as Metronomy pumped out their hits, they are part of a genre, which in my view is full of bands that are often a flash in the pan, and are best left well alone but their catchy and simplistic way has actually worked it's way into my heart.

Finally the wait was over, the atmosphere was ripe with the smell of warm sweat, warmer beer and anticipation because the main man of Friday night was soon to be on stage - Mr Frank Turner. He entered to the sound of thousands of people chanting, “we want Frank” (something that the compare also did but didn't receive the same warm reception) and then rapturous applause as he strode on to take centre stage; a place he clearly belongs. It was as though we were all a part of something together, he has this way of ensuing inclusion with every last person standing before him; not just lyrically but in a way you just can't put your finger on. Inclusion was at a peak with 2000 Trees most famous punter, Karl Gill who was invited on stage to play some harmonica along side Turner as a birthday present; better than a 5 note in a Clintons from you Grandma, no!? He played all the songs you would want to hear in a set from him and all those lyrics that relate and illustrate so many of our lives. For me this was the best live performance I have ever been a part of and I use the phrase “been a part of” quite deliberately as I think that night, we all were.

Photographer: JULES ANNAN