Another weekend of almost pure sunshine fixed the woes of last year’s Truck Festival mud bath. Over the three days of the 2017 festival the rain barely stopped in Abingdon, Oxfordshire leaving the whole site flooded with mud by the end of the weekend. With a heavy downpour for only an hour on Friday night there was more worry that the crowd would drown in sweat this time around!
Festival Goers (Paul Lyme)
Truck’s organisers had taken note of all last year’s issues and looked to solve them in the simplest ways possible. The two main issues were congestion getting into the site, and the distance between stages. To solve this Truck Festival were delighted to open for the first time on a Thursday, running for four days from the 19th to the 22nd. The queues to enter were almost non-existent, and music on two stages allowed for a nice chilled night for those coming early.
Activities for families (Paul Lyme)
The site had also been compacted slightly. Stages were a little closer together meaning a quicker walk between sets. The area in front of the Truck Stage also appeared to be smaller. I’m not sure if the capacity had been reduced at all, but during George Ezra’s headline slot the field was possibly the busiest I’ve seen it.
Crowd at the Truck Stage (Paul Lyme)
There was no Palm City area this year, instead there was a Palm City takeover of The Market Stage after the bands had finished until early hours. The Market Stage appeared to be slightly smaller this year and had switched places with The Nest, which was the place to go for the slightly heavier music.
I Cried Wolf (Paul Lyme)
The Barn was the place to check out the up and coming acts, many of which will end up returning in future years for slots on the larger stages. They probably could have done with airing it out a little longer, as the smell of the animals was still a little fresh! There was also the Veterans And Virgins tent, The Magners Tent and The Rocking Chair with comedy and cabaret.
Little Brother Eli (Paul Lyme)
Thursday night began with local band Little Brother Eli. These guys impressed me last year, but the crowd seemed to be setting tents up still, so the atmosphere was a little muted to begin with for them and Kanadia.
Bad Sounds (Paul Lyme)
By the time Bad Sounds and JAWS the tent was a lot fuller. Bad Sounds sounded great with their throwback hip hop style, and JAWS as always had the tent in full party mode. I’m surprised JAWS didn’t get a slot on the main stage after completely filling the Market Stage during their set last year.
JAWS (Paul Lyme)
Indie-rock band Peace headlined this night and was the perfect way to close the stage on a pretty relaxing first night. Just before heading off for an early night I caught Avalanche Party and Trampolene in The Barn.
Peace (Paul Lyme)
Avalanche Party caught my eye at 2000trees last week, so I thought I’d check whether it was a one of performance! Luckily, they’re just as electric on a smaller stage as frontman Jordan Bell writhes around on the front of the stage staring creepily into the darkness. Trampolene provided some good captivating rock and roll and left The Barn rocking until the early 9:45pm finish.
Trampolene (Paul Lyme)
For Truck’s first Thursday opening it was a success, however seeing some of the stages incomplete did make me worry that they hadn’t prepared themselves in time. Although it didn’t affect the running of the event, it just didn’t look great. Finger’s crossed next year they set up a day earlier.
PINS (Paul Lyme)
Friday kicked off at 1pm and most of the day was spent wandering around the site checking out a lot of acts I’ve not previously heard. The Truck Stage had a good run, firstly with the brilliant all girl rock band PINS. Bad Thing is a cracking song that I’ve had on repeat non-stop since!
Coasts (Paul Lyme)
Little Comets, Circa Waves and Coasts filled the middle slots on the Truck Stage showing off their varied rock styles. All three bands sounded good and seem to have some dedicated followers who lined themselves up at the front nice and early for their sets.
De La Soul should have been warming up the crowd for Friday’s headliners Friendly Fires, but unfortunately the heavens opened and I was too much of a wimp to leave the press tent to catch them!
Friendly Fires (Paul Lyme)
It had just about worked down to a little drizzle for Friendly Fires, so I braved it briefly for the St Albans indie-rock boys. Frontman Ed Macfarlane jumped around bare footed as the slightly damp crowd danced the rain away.
Friendly Fires (Paul Lyme)
On the Market Stage Friday’s stand out act was Goat Girl. I’d recently picked up their self-named debut album and thought their set was really good. Their fun guitar work and haunting vocals makes the four girls stand out from many other acts around at the moment.
Goat Girl (Paul Lyme)
Fizzy Blood and Fang Club were the pick of the bunch in The Nest on Friday. Both bands are slowly working their way up to the bigger slots at festivals and pulling in some decent crowds with their heavier rock music.
Fangclub (Paul Lyme)
I’ve been waiting to see Calva Louise for a while, so made a dash to catch the three-piece indie-rock band in The Barn and was pleased when they announced their debut album is on its way. Definitely a band to keep a close eye on in the coming months.
Calva Louise (Paul Lyme)
What better way to start your Saturday morning off with a warm up session with Mr Motivator. The 65 year old (Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either!) fills the Truck Stage area with a huge crowd following his fitness instructions as he flows out line after line of inspirational words leaving everyone with beaming smiles. Bringing him back to morning TV will solve many of the world’s issues. Actually, just make him Prime Minister.
Mr Motivator (Paul Lyme)
It was a busy day on all the stages today. flirting impressed on the main stage as front woman Poppy Warring perches herself down on the front of the main stage with a microphone in one hand, and a loudspeaker in the other. This was the first festival slot for the “anxiety-pop” band, and they took their opportunity well.
flirting (Paul Lyme)
Sea Girls have been getting a bit of radio time recently and they have a great chilled out sound like The Kooks. I’ll be seeing them again before the end of festival season and I expect a lot more of them in the future.
Sea Girls (Paul Lyme)
I was slightly worried that having two solo male artists back to back would be slightly boring, but Jake Bugg and George Ezra banished that fear. Both artists have brilliantly distinct voices that stand out from anyone else around and their upbeat pop music gets everyone going. I’ve not seen a crowd react to a song as they did to George Ezra’s Paradise. Arms up in the air they didn’t stop bouncing through the whole song.
George Ezra (Paul Lyme)
The setup on the Market Stage for Drenge was a weird one. A giant octopus and some jellyfish floated around through the smoke filled set. The trio have a brilliant grungy sound that switches the audience from chilled one minute to moshing the next.
Drenge (Paul Lyme)
Hotel Lux have a great sound, but the slow pace doesn’t make for exciting viewing as frontman Lewis Duffin scuffles his feet around the stage staring into the crowd before heading to his microphone every now and then. Lady Bird are a little more exciting in The Nest with their heavier sound, but neither can come close to the stage show that is HMLTD!
Hotel Lux (Paul Lyme)
Formerly Happy Meal Limited, but now just HMLTD. There really is no one else around like them. They look different, they sound different and it’s absolutely enthralling to watch. Some people will hate them and I think they’d be quite happy with that as they appear to set out to get a reaction from the crowd with their superb mix of tunes and 80s style vocals. If you’re going to see a band this year make sure it’s HMLTD. You will not be let down!
HMLTD (Paul Lyme)
The Scruff are always entertaining to watch as they took to the warm and still slightly smelly Barn. The four-piece band seem to improve each time I see them, and hopefully their catchy songs and fun performances get themselves the recognition they deserve!
The Scruff (Paul Lyme)
Sophie and The Giants impressed with a sound not too dissimilar to Florence + The Machine. Sophie Scott’s voice is spectacular and stands out and it bounces around the hard walls of The Barn. Unfortunately, I only caught a handful of their songs, but I’ll be looking to see them again for a full set soon.
Sophie & The Giants (Paul Lyme)
By the time Sunday comes I’m completely drained. The sun has completely taken it out of me and the other photographers as we slowly lug our heavy bags and cameras around. I decide to get a lot of shade today and just pick a handful of acts to catch so I can avoid rushing around. This all works fine until about 5:45pm when I decide I want to catch everyone!
Oxford Symphony Orchestra (Paul Lyme)
The afternoon starts with the brilliant sounds of Oxford Orchestra as they work their way through some classical and rock sounds allowing the crowd to create the now annual mosh pit.
Hey Charlie (Paul Lyme)
Hey Charlie smash it in The Market with their cool performance. They look great in their matching outfits, and their rock tunes are sounding amazing. They’ve picked up some top support slots this year and it’s thoroughly deserved. I joked at how many male photographers had managed to make their way to the photo pit for this set.
Blaenavon (Paul Lyme)
I love Blaenavon and their album That’s Your Lot is one of my favourites at the moment. Their lyrics are beautiful and I was expecting a chilled out performance. I was wrong. They sound so much heavier live. Bass player Frank Wright comes out with sun cream all over his face and bounces his way around the stage throughout their main stage slot. Much livelier and a bigger sound that I was expecting. Quite possibly the best set of the weekend.
The Amazons (Paul Lyme)
You know what to expect with The Amazons as they seem to have pretty much the same set at all their gigs. It works though as their live shows are always top notch and are one of the best live acts to watch at the moment.
The Magic Gang (Paul Lyme)
Magic Gang drew a big crowd to The Market and are picking up a huge following. Don’t be surprised if the regular Truck performers eventually work their way up to a headline spot.
We Are Scientists (Paul Lyme)
Not only do We Are Scientists sound good, but they appear to be the nicest guys in the world! Whilst sound checking bassist Chris Cain took the time to chat with some young lifelong fans at the front and sign shirts for them. The band seem to have been around forever, but they are and fresh faced as ever.
We Are Scientists (Paul Lyme)
I’ve never really listened to Editors, but was pleasantly surprised at how many of their songs I recognised. The English rock band have six albums out now, but Munich is probably their standout song and I’ve realised I should be listening to them a lot more!
Editors (Paul Lyme)
The Courteeners headlined the Sunday night and they had a load of hardcore fans down the front, but the crowd seemed to have thinned out a lot by the time their slot came. I’m not sure if it was the heat that had taken it out of people, or whether the young crowd just weren’t that into hanging around for them. They sounded good though as the remaining festival goers finished the weekend with fireworks.
The Courteeners (Paul Lyme)
Overall it was a brilliant weekend spend at Truck Festival with plenty of great acts to check out. It’s family friendly and the general crowd are pretty young so there aren’t loads of drunks wandering around.
HMLTD (Paul Lyme)
Standout acts from the weekend for me were Blaenavon, Goat Girl and HMLTD, who all sounded fantastic. Hopefully next year’s line up will be just as strong.
Paint Fight (Paul Lyme)
I should also mention the annual paint fight, where the organisers drop a bucket of paint powder in the middle of the field…and RUN. Chaos ensues as the air turns into a huge colourful rainbow. Nobody is safe!
Paint Fight (Paul Lyme)
Tickets are out already and at less that £100 I’d definitely advise people to jump on the Truck Festival bandwagon and book up for next year!
Review and Photography of Truck Festival 2018 by Paul Lyme
Where do you start to describe a weekend like 2000trees festival? Blistering heat, and a line-up that puts most of this year’s ‘bigger’ festivals to shame. It was fantastic. The atmosphere around the site is so chilled and laid back. With the site being relatively small, no one is in a rush. The clashes between acts were minimal so the crowds are just relaxing in the sun and taking their time to enjoy the music surrounding them.
Arcane Roots Main Stage (Paul Lyme)
Making a change from other festivals, 2000trees runs from Thursday to Saturday. It’s a nice change to be home and relaxing by midday on Sunday and not needing an extra day off work! Set in Upcote Farm, Cheltenham, the beautiful Cotswolds are the ideal setting for this really (family) friendly festival.
With four tents and the acoustic stage in the forest there was roughly 100m to walk between each stage. The main stage is set at the top of the site, just a short distance from the Neu Stage and some market and food stalls. There’s also a little chill out area with activities for the kids. Across the maintenance road we have The Axiom and The Cave tents, and a little walk through some woodlands is the secluded Forest Stage.
Throw in the Acoustic Village and the music being performed on top of the Signature Brew bar; the site is as full as they can get.
Haggard Cat (Paul Lyme)
Having arrived and set up my tent I had a little time to chill and check out the site before I started one the best days of music I’ve experienced. It all begins with rock duo Haggard Cat playing on top of the Signature Brew bar. It’s a small space on the top of the metal container that the bar has been built into, so guitarist Matt Reynolds has to restrict his usual lively movements a little during the short set.
Arcane Roots Forest Set (Paul Lyme)
Arcane Roots started with the first of their two sets on the first day with a synth set in the forest. Their ability to change their style from a full-on rock show to a sat down emotional set is incredible. A few people sitting in The Forest watching mentioned how it was like an out of body experience! Front man Andrew Groves must have one of the most impressive voices in the music industry at the moment.
Press to Meco (Paul Lyme)
Each time I see Press To Meco they impress me more and more, and there are clear improvements each time. With the rock-pop trio’s punchy album Here’s To The Fatigue released this year, a few top support slots could make them a household name before too long!
Brutus (Paul Lyme)
After a synth set the rest of the day was lined up for some real heavy sounds. Whilst checking the acts out pre-festival, Brutus were the one that stood out for me. Drummer and vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts smashed it with her heavy hitting rhythms and amazing raspy voice, with Drive being a standout song.
Turnstile (Paul Lyme)
I was convinced by the other photographers that American hardcore punk act Turnstile was the act to go see, and they were right as Brandon Yates launches himself over the barriers into the crowd. The crowd go absolutely wild as they carry him up in the air across the front of the stage. You can already see how much some of these bands are adored by the crowd, and why there are so many regulars to this festival.
Marmozets (Paul Lyme)
I’ve been waiting to see Marmozets for a while, so I was delighted with the late announcement that they would be playing on the main stage. Knowing What You Know Now should be a contender for album of the year, and they’ve got a stage presence to match the quality of their recorded music. I was completely overwhelmed by their fantastic performance and definitely won’t be forgetting it for a long time!
Marmozets (Paul Lyme)
Black Peaks up next. I’ll make it clear now, I bloody love these guys. Every live performance I’ve seen is top draw, with a full on in your face experience. Will Gardener‘s versatile vocals compliments the heavy music from the rest of the band. I think a lot of the other acts were in the tent for this set as there were a lot of shoutouts from the other stages for Black Peaks. I quickly put my camera away after shooting the first three songs and headed back into The Cave to get involved in the mosh pit. Complete carnage!
Black Peaks (Paul Lyme)
At The Drive In headlined the Friday night, but I wasn’t hugely impressed with them and skipped off early in their set to get involved in the manic silent disco! This festival is more about the smaller acts though and looking back, so many of these bands are going to be future headliners at 2000trees.
At The Drive In (Paul Lyme)
First up on Friday is Lady Bird. There aren’t enough bands like Slaves around, so it was an absolute delight to see the frantic three-piece punk band in action. Not a quiet start to the day for the hungover people in the crowd!
Lady Bird (Paul Lyme)
It was good to catch Phoxjaw after our recent interview. They have a dark stage presence as bassist/vocalist Danny Garland comes out with a bottle of alcohol up in the air to swig from, and keys players Hugh Allen walks around psyching himself up to a near demonic state for their set. Triceratops is an absolute banging tune! I like these guys style. It’s different, without being corny.
Phoxjaw (Paul Lyme)
Normally a band dropping out (Ground Culture) would be a bad thing, but I was delighted to find out that Drones would be playing. The punk group from London always give a good show and are obviously well respected by the other bands as they’ve been picking up some great support slots. They’re not afraid to hide from any political messages as vocalist Lois McDougall enters the stage with a handwritten “Brits like me a lot…” T-Shirt.
Drones (Paul Lyme)
There was the perfect introduction to Bad Sign on main stage. “Two words. Bad fucking Sign”. Pure riffs! That’s all that you need to know about the brilliant rock trio.
Bad Sign (Paul Lyme)
No Violet gave a knockout performance on the Neu Stage. Having caught the grunge band at Truck Festival last year, I was extremely impressed by their set. With a new EP launching in September, hopefully they can push on and break through soon.
No Violet (Paul Lyme)
Ho99o9…I’m not quite sure how to describe them! Half Prodigy, half Public Enemy, perhaps? Either way, they’re my new favourite act! It was extremely hard to get photos through the smoke filled stage. I could just about make out members theOGM and Eaddy, with one in long dreadlocks and alien like claws, and the other wearing a hi-viz police jacket, badge and hat. These guys definitely stand out from the crowd!
Ho99o9 (Paul Lyme)
The Axiom was the place to be for punk rock trios Dream Wife, and Slotface as they brought their fun sets and feminist messages to the full up tent, and PINS impressed with their cool throwback rock chick style.
PINS (Paul Lyme)
Soeur were only supposed to have a forest set, but a late cancellation meant they got a slot on the Neu Stage. It was a strong set from the Bristol based indie trio. They reminded me a lot of Rews and I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
Soeur (Paul Lyme)
I’m unsure about Mallory Knox these days. Catching them for the first time since their line-up change, they are still a really good live band, but without Mikey Chapman’s vocals they don’t stand out from the crowd any more.
Mallory Knox (Paul Lyme)
Heading back to camp I take some time to check out what appears to be a wish tree. Wishes have been jotted down and tied up onto the branches. Some wishes such as ‘I wish for dinosaurs’ are a little more jovial than others…
The wish tree at 2000trees (Paul Lyme)
It was a cold wake up for the front of the main stage on Saturday as Avalanche Party as front man Jordan Bell empties a cup of water over his head before shaking it off like a wet dog. 2000trees definitely wanted some in your face bands for their early main stage sets this weekend!
Avalanche Party (Paul Lyme)
Ever seen a bass guitar string snap? A packed-out Axiom tent witnessed this rare feat as bassist Jiwoon Whang managed to continue through the early part of Swedish Death Candy’s set with his string hanging from the guitar. It was an impressive set from the psych-rock band who will have picked up a few new followers with their cool display.
Swedish Death Candy (Paul Lyme)
Imperial Leisure raised the bar on the main stage bringing a party atmosphere with their flamboyant show. Unfortunately, it didn’t all go to plan as their front man Denis Smith misjudged his jump between the amp and the crowd railings. Falling face first he incredibly got up and continued the set with blood dripping from a slice just below his eye. With inflatables bouncing and champagne flowing this set left those watching with a huge smile.
Imperial Leisure (Paul Lyme)
Solo folk act Beans on Toast had the funniest moment of the weekend. He breaks from his hilarious songs to spend a moment talking about things such as how David Attenborough should be used to wipe out Donald Trump, and why Porta-Loos have roofs.
Beans on Toast (Paul Lyme)
I was thoroughly impressed with The Xcerts. The trio’s catchy rock songs and energetic drew a well deserved big crowd to the main stage. They were another of the acts that had been lined up for an acoustic set in The Forest. This is one of the beauty’s of this festival as you see stripped back sets it really helps you connect with bands you’ve not seen before.
The Xcerts (Paul Lyme)
Former Paper Aeroplanes member Bryde had a cute set in the forest shortly after an impromptu stag do wrestling match on the woodland floor. The Welsh singer songwriter had the crowd in silence with her beautifully fragile songs.
Bryde (Paul Lyme)
Unfortunately, Sikth had to drop out from their set in The Axiom. It was for good reason though, as Daniel Foord’s partner had gone into labour that morning. This gave me a little time to wander around and grab food and a beer before the weekends big headliner.
Closing the main stage this weekend was Enter Shikari. These guys take things to another level with their stage show. Although it seems that they are a bit of a marmite band, there really is no one else like them around at the moment.
Enter Shakiri (Paul Lyme)
Standout performances for me came from Marmozets, Ho99o9, and Black Peaks. I love the energy they have on stage, and it’s a great feeling to be walking away from a set with the music and display stuck in your mind.
I am already looking forward to next year’s 2000trees! I have no doubt that it’ll be another amazing line up of the best up and coming rock and metal acts around.
Photography and review of 2000trees 2018 from 12th-16th July on a farm in The Cotswolds by Paul Lyme.
The seats had been set out for singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette’s two performances at the Apollo in Hammersmith, London, but they could have saved themselves the effort as the excited crowd had no plans to use them. They were already in buoyant mood from England’s quarter final World Cup result and London Pride events and when Alanis took to the stage at the sold out venue the place just erupted!
Pacing from one end of the stage to other non-stop, the Canadian treated the adoring audience to eighteen of her songs from her long music career, including one that has never been performed before. Opening with All I Really Want, each and every song felt like it was an encore. The fans belted out the words so loud that at points it was like a sing-a-long with Alanis.
There aren’t many artists out there with vocals as incredibly powerful and her voice is just as on point as it’s always been. The only thing that has changed is her new hairstyle! The long flowing locks have been ditched for cropped hair.
Occasionally she stopped her stage marching to equip herself with the sparkliest guitars I’ve seen. Her band continued around her as she faced up to them with a beaming smile on her face. Supported by the waiving of Croatian flags.
There wasn’t rain on anyone’s wedding day today. Luckily the heat didn’t follow anyone into the cool venue, but the heat must have been felt in the crowd as they all danced and sang along to Ironic. This was one of the ten songs she performed from her critically acclaimed third album Jagged Little Pill.
Coming back out for her three song encore, we were treated to London. A song she had written a year and a half after Jagged Little Pill but has never performed live. It was penned after she returned home from a tour in London and she couldn’t get the place out of her head and wanted to come back so bad.
Finishing up with the beautiful Uninvited, and my favourite Thank You, the set was a well picked selection of her upbeat rock music that seemed to have just what everyone wanted.
Alanis returns this Friday to the Apollo, before headlining Cornbury Festival. Hopefully it won’t be as long before she returns to the UK, and with a bit of luck there may be some new material for her to showcase.
Photos and review of Alanis Morissette at Eventim Apollo on Saturday 7th July 2018 by Paul Lyme.
The weather told me to expect thunderstorms, so I wrapped up expecting to get wet. That was my first mistake of the day. I had to carry around my rain coat and walking around for the day in jeans and boots with glorious sunshine beaming down. It ended up being the perfect weather for a day at Slam Dunk South2018.
The second mistake was expecting Great Northern to be able to run something that resembles a train service for the day. Numerous delays and cancellations later, I finally arrived in Hatfield for a short walk into Hatfield Park. It’s a nice wide-open setting for the festival, only a five-minute walk from the railway station.
It shocked me how well set up the festival is. Considering it’s only for a day at each setting (North, South and Midlands), the area is well set for a full weekend of music. Three large big top tents, two main stages, a smaller stage and a small acoustic stage. The work that has gone into putting it all together is incredible.
And here’s the first problem with Slam Dunk. It’s expanded and grown too big for just one day. With over 70 acts to choose from, you’re almost certain to be missing a lot of acts that you want to see. The clashes throughout the day are awful. Billed with two headliners, Jimmy Eat World, and Good Charlotte are both on at exactly the same time.
Even the names next down on the bill only have a short overlap, meaning people were either rushing around and only catching parts of sets, or just sitting in the middle of the site and getting drunk with a concoction of different noises coming from each and every direction.
I planned my day to check out a few up and coming acts I’ve caught over the past couple years to see how they’re coming along, with a handful of big name acts to fill out my day. Sadly, I missed Templeton Pek thanks to the previously mentioned train disaster. One of many acts from the US, Guttermouth ended up as the first band to catch my attention. Frontman Mark Adkins was clearly enjoying himself on the stage, the crowd were responding well to the Punk-Rock band, and the first of many crowd surfers went flying over.
Next up was Welsh Punk/Grime band Astroid Boys in the Impericon Stage tent. There’s not much lighting in here but there’s just about enough to see the crowd bouncing and beers flying. At £5 a pint, my heart cried a little each time I saw a beer cup soaring. Astroid Boys know how to put on a show and it shouldn’t be long before they’re getting some bigger festival slots.
Quick visits to catch a few moments of Homesafe, and Creeper before heading into the Rock SoundBreakout Stage for The Faim. I’ve been hearing great things about the youngsters and they didn’t disappoint. Their uplifting music has a real feel of Fall Out Boy about it, so it was no surprise to find out that Pete Wentz was involved in the writing of their latest single.
A couple beers and a cheeseburger later and I was preparing myself for one of the local acts; Trash Boat. With a new album about to be released it was good to catch the St Albans boys. Their music pulls in a decent sized crowd. The vocals are strong and the music has a good feeling about it. The circle pits begin and the security prepare themselves for the bodies to start flowing towards them on top of the crowd. This was a strong performance that is sure to have picked them up a few more fans.
It was time to head to the main stage for one of, if not the best live performer around. Frank Carter & TheRattlesnakes. The guy is like a puppet master on stage controlling each and every person in the crowd. He gets what he demands from them, and he deserves to get it too! This is just another electric performance from the front man, as he throws himself into the crowd and gets them to hold him up in the air.
The audience lap up everything he throws at them, as he attempts to orchestrate a circle pit nearly 100 metres in diameter from the front of the stage around the sound desk tent. It was genuinely a surprise to hear he’s never played a Slam Dunk festival before.
Unfortunately, more train cancellations and a holiday to get to meant I had to bail shortly after Frank’s set, but I left on a massive high. Slam Dunk does some good things. The paying crowd love it and for little over £50 it’s an absolute bargain. I’ll probably avoid covering the festival next year, but it’ll mean I can have a few more beers and get involved in a little crowd surfing!
Live Review of Slam Dunk South 2018 at Hatfield House on May 27th 2018 by Paul Lyme
2000trees were excited to add Phoxjaw to their festival lineup, so I took some time to get to know a little more about the Bristol alt-rock band who have been getting a fair bit of attention this year.
I began our interview by getting a little introduction to the five band members, and how they met. Brothers Kieran Gallop, vocals & drums and Josh Gallop, who plays guitar, were previously in a metal band together. Guitarist Glenn Hawkins and bassist & vocalist Danny Garland had met at school and also spent time with each other in groupss. And Huw Allen was the latest addition to the group after they decided to add some synth and keys.
In a time where there are so many mundane band names doing the rounds, how did they end up with theirs?
“It was a word engraved on Josh and Kieran’s great nan’s ancient wooden leg,” they say at first, before confirming: “Nah, that’s a lie. It was plucked out of thin air but we decided to be super edgy and replace the F for a PH.”
They’ve also been super busy: we’re not even six months into 2018 and they’ve released an EP, toured the UK, and made a music video.
“It was all shot in one day, a very long day at that,” they say of the clip for Triceratops. “We started around 10 in the morning and didn’t get finished till at least 10 or 11 that night.”
The shoot took place at John Wesley Methodist Church in Bristol. It’s a beautiful setting, so a lot of work must have been put into making it appear as dark and intense as it does onscreen.
“It was by chance that our videographer James Harris knew somebody who could get us access to the church. It was a fantastic venue and was exactly what we were after when we pitched James the idea, something grand that would look great on camera.”
Filming can be a very stressful time, especially if you’re doing it for 12 hours non-stop, but the band made it through the day unscathed.
“We filmed all the performance shots first in the church, then went back to another location for the attic torture scene,” they explain. “Huw and Danny were so convincing with their acting in the torture scene we all looked at each other after and had to go get a pint to wind down. It was super intense.
“”We are stoked with the result, so it was all worth it.”
Triceratops is taken from the new EP Dinosaur, which has been extremely well received and has had some glowing reviews.
“It’s been awesome,” they say of the response. “We’ve been quite taken aback by how much people are loving it. Hearing that people are finding their own meanings in the songs and the lyrics.
“The EP was out for about 5 days before we did our hometown EP launch gig and people were already singing the lyrics back to us, which is an amazing feeling. It just keeps on growing and growing as well, so we are excited to see what more comes of it.“
But what makes a band choose to go with an EP over an album? It must be a hard decision to make, especially as this will be the first thing many will hear of the band.
“We really wanted a body of work to release that had a cohesive feel throughout. We are all fans of albums but with the way people consume music at the moment, especially when you are a relatively new band, it made more sense to put out an EP. There is also a lot of pressure on a debut nowadays, we are working towards an album though.”
Alongside the music releases, Phoxjaw have spent time on the road touring the UK experiencing new venues, and making new friends.
“Each date had its charm for us and it was great hitting some places we’ve never been before, Bristol was a great show as we previously mentioned, being our own city and all. We really enjoyed Brighton as it’s just a great place to be in and the Green Door Store is a great venue. We also really enjoyed Swindon; we played with a great band called The Guts who were phenomenal, so can’t wait to hook up with those guys again.”
With festival season on the way, the band’s enthusiasm for 2000trees matched that of the festival organisers.
“We are very excited to have that one, it was a bit of a goal for us when we first started this band to play there, and we didn’t think it’d happen so soon.”
The band are looking forward to finding out the difference between playing a run of the mill gig, and a festival. They don’t plan on changing anything in their performance though.
“Being a relatively new band we kind of missed out a bit on festival season last year due to recording for this release so we are going to find out ourselves! We’ll bring the same energy though as we put into any Phoxjaw show. Whether we’re playing to 1000 people or 10 people, if you are at a Phoxjaw gig you are going to be entertained.”
That sounds promising, and I’ll be sure to catch them alongside their suggestions of other acts to catch.
“Loads of great bands we look up to are playing the festival, but go check our mates in Black Peaks, Holding Absence, Soeur, and Haggard Cat. They all kick ass,” the band advise.
I finish up asking the hardest question of all. One that really makes you think about your answer and Phoxjaw don’t let themselves down. With the dinosaur EP theme they had going on, what’s their favourite dinosaur?
“Oooooh this is a tough one, but I’m gonna go with the Diplodocus because they’ve got a long neck and I’d love to see one at our gig head banging. T-Rex would be no good in the mosh pit if it fell over because of the short arms!”
Catch Phoxjaw at 2000trees on Friday 13th July at The Cave.