LIVE: 2000 Trees Festival 2017 – Thursday

By Penny Bennett

2000 Trees is now in its second decade as a festival and as the event continues to impress year after year, it happily shows no sign of slowing down. As an alternative festival that focuses on celebrating UK acts both new and old, there aren’t many line-ups that can compete with 2000 Trees and we were on hand to check out this year’s fantastic showcase of talent.

Words: Mark Johnson, Becky Mount

As festival openers go, there aren’t many with better energy than Grumble Bee. Always guaranteed to deliver anthemic songs with plenty of passion, this an ideal act to get the festival crowd warmed up. Grumble Bee is the solo project of singer/songwriter Jack Bennett but live, he plays with a full band and though these shows are always enjoyable, they have tended to still feel like Bennett, plus friends in the past. This show at 2000 Trees is the most refined and sophisticated the band has sounded, with bassist Zach Phelps and drummer Callum Connell feeling more like integrated members of the band than ever before. The time spent touring together as a unit is paying dividends and with new singles ‘Red’ and ‘Bravest Soul’ sounding this epic, the band continues to go from strength to strength on stage and no doubt their status will follow the same trajectory. [MJ]

It’s been five years since Straight Lines released their last album ‘Freaks Like Us’ and it doesn’t take long to realise how much we’ve missed them. Vocalist/guitarist Tom Jenkins sounds superb, as though he never went away, and the band’s up-tempo, alt-rock singalongs are perfect for a festival environment. Not only are the songs highly entertaining, their onstage banter is on point as well, culminating in a giant conga line being formed for their final song, which ends the set in very high spirits. It’s fantastic to see Straight Lines back on stage and hopefully we won’t have to wait as long to see them do it again. [MJ]

Feed the Rhino return to 2000 Trees and this performance shows they’re well and truly back on form. The band’s huge riffs get heads banging and vocalist Lee Tobin invites the crowd to pour over the barrier and share the stage with them. Feed the Rhino bring a ton of energy to the opening day and clearly thrive on getting the crowd moving, helped massively by a set full of well executed, high-octane songs. The audience oblige with a huge circle pit and wall of death, signalling this as the clear winner for highest energy set of the day. Much to everyone’s joy, Feed the Rhino confirmed that they’re working on new material, which they hope to have out early 2018. [MJ]

For a three piece band, Black Foxxes sure can make a lot of noise. And we’re not just talking about the (rightly deserved) fuss surrounding their debut last year. Taking to The Axiom stage on day one of 2000 Trees, their trademark frankness and overwhelming sound once again works its magic, but sadly it does feel like a wasted opportunity; they more than deserve to be further up the bill, blowing even more minds. [BM]