The Subways, Bombay Bicycle Club
Modesty Blaise 17/07/2010
The sun; something we all enjoy immensely, something we wait half of the year for and when it comes we all turn into gorgeously tanned happy maniacs that for some reason no longer mind being covered in mud and piss as long as the music is nice and loud. Well, that all said I personally discontinue feeling this carefree way when I wake up because my face is melting as the ruddy sun sears like a branding iron through my tent! Tell me, why doesn't someone invent a tent that doesn't leak sunlight?
Musically my day began pretty badly as well, Left Side Brain were on the main stage and they made my head hurt, on both sides. It may be a question of taste but their dingy and weighty style was certainly not appropriate ear breakfast and the whole thing felt rather dated. For this reason and because of the depressingly frequent apertures in the crowd I decided to head for the comfort of The Greenhouse, were I knew the soothing, elegant and heartfelt folk story telling from Joe Summers would ease the pain of the morning after the night before - he did not disappoint.
Summers seems to exude this natural quality of likeability, his songs are memories, fragments of everyday life woven together to make a life affirming, beautiful tapestry of song. It was perfect being surrounded by hay bails, festival goers in animal onsies, and the gentle flow of his songs snaking like smoke through it all, a lasting memory of summer 2010.
The tempo and more importantly volume were quickly upped as Oxygen Thief came to take our breath away. Barry (Oxygen Thief) is another Cheltenham favorite and has toured with Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, I have watched him perform a few times and he has always reached out and grabbed the jugular of my attention; however today did not have quite the same feel to it. I felt that the beginning of the performance was slightly lacklustre and failed to capture me as it has done in the past, because of this I did not stay for the whole set however I have heard glowing reviews from other spectators so maybe I was too impatient.
So, another impromptu wonder, this time back to the main stage I caught another band I haven't listened to before - Sonic Boom Six. Their heavily influenced style is a concoction of reggae, hip-hop and ska, an audio assault with a brass section, rap and a female vocal. All of the aforementioned are all musically commendable and certainly mold breaking, fun too; however the female vocal began to saw away at me with ever growing intensity. Sonic Boom Six would certainly cause shock waves and move your tectonic plates if you saw them live, got your skank on and generally let loose your pretenses but unfortunately for me I stood on the outskirts and became rather irritated.
I decided it would be a good idea to steak my place at the main stage in order to be nice and close to the gorgeous Johnny Flynn (mostly in the hope that he would see me, fall in love with me and whisk me away to marry me in a paradise of folk wonderment) and also my friend was absolutely insistent on watching Twin Atlantic - yet another band I hadn't heard of, I am beginning to sound rather musically oblivious here… however… they were incredible! They are without a doubt my best discovery of the whole festival. This is music that causes the fire it ensues in your belly to make you fall to your knees; lift your weeping face to the sky and bask in it's majestic glory - I am not exaggerating. This band are 100% rad. Sam McTrusty (lead vocals) is the ultimate rock star thrashing about the stage and crying out his thick as the Scottish clag accented vocals and the rest of their sound resembling Biffy Clyro's first three albums. If you have any plans after reading this review then change them, get yourself down the record shop and buy 'Vivarium' - it will change your life.
So suitably blown-away by my new favorite band an old favorite of mine is next to take the stage. Johnny Flynn is one of the main reasons I came to Trees, so excited is a hideous understatement for my feelings at the time. His performance was as flawless as his angelic face, talent and sheer musical ability just ooze from this man, and everything is done with perfect ease. Disappointing he didn't break out his fiddle but nonetheless Mr. Flynn is a pioneer of modern folk and his uplifting and poignant ditties will forever remain in my heart along with this performance - flawless. Now, I am thoroughly ashamed to say to you all that due to some unforeseen circumstances I actually missed 65daysofstatic; I know, I know, I should be beaten within an inch of my life but you know what festivals are like, there is literally no escape from inexplicable escapades and if you don't return to your tent in a one eared bunny hat being pushed by security in a wheelbarrow then your ticket money was pretty much wasted. I did however manage to collect myself sufficiently to go and watch the sun sink to the soundtrack of the sublime Bombay Bicycle Club, and what a sunset it was!
Everything about this band is a total win, young and vibrant their energy onstage is a perfect vessel for their utterly beautiful music, I believe they have been a much needed refreshment to the young music scene and a massive kick in the face to other manufactured teeny-boppers that we see so many of. We all know how awesome they are and seeing them live should pretty much be written into government legislation, that is all I have to say on the tremendous BBC (I am obviously abbreviating and not referring to the British Broadcasting Association). Headlining acts are never normally the thing I go to festivals for and this one was no exception. The Subways have been forced upon me in many different forms, burnt CDs, friends downloading their tracks onto my iTunes and much of the like and I have never really taken to them but tonight was definitely their night they rocked some serious socks off!
Complete with heroic stage diving from the rigging, shirtless singing and a seriously sexy performance from Miss Cooper who looked exactly what Tinkerbelle would look like if she were spawn from Lenny and Suzi Quatro. Their performance was savagely rock and I can now finally see the appeal of The Subways - it's all about the live stuff.
2000 Trees was an utter success, small and intimate without being quaint. I am going every year from now until the end of time and I strongly recommend you do the same.