The weather had some sort of split personality disorder this morning; cloudy then sunny, freezing then sweltering. To be fair if I was the weather I’d mess people about the same way- Sun! Snow! Thunder! Rainbow balls of light!… Anyway this resulted in the congregation dressing half like they were appearing in a Nelly video and half like my Grandma.
The Scheduling for 12pm was likely to result in a 25% attendance for all 4 stages. A master stroke. However, I was never going to be anywhere apart from the leaf lounge for The Momeraths, that is to say- the gorgeous sound of The Momeraths. Well- and Toss.
Toss is a powerhouse of a compere, he keeps going non-stop for 2 days with his genuinely funny and amazingly on the spot observations, references and intelligent humour. Though he can’t shake off the references to Eddie Izzard (he bears a striking resemblance and has a similar timbre), his style is much less divisive. Like I could happily stay in the Leaf lounge all weekend, and he regularly suggests you do this, but Izzard you’d have to or you wouldn’t know what he was on about.
As it is, you dip in and out regularly, coming back to the heart of the festival for a spirit lift. He remains original and unrepetive, despite having a few gems he comes back to on occasions. A genuinely likeable and enjoyable compere who has a great sense of who to pick out and who not to, like if you don’t want the attention, you won’t get it. How he keeps it up I don’t know but make sure you take some time out to appreciate the phenomenon that is Toss.
It turns out that The Momeraths are no more. Well they are but now they are Young Romance, a 3-piece from Kingston (where they played the night before this noon slot), though the name is the only thing that’s really changed their sound is as verdent as ever.
A brave and completely naked display (not literally) from the newly named trio, Claire Heywood was the focal point with snares and high hat amplified only to underscore her fragilly honest vocals which are often accompanied by Paolo Ruiu and it makes for something quite captivating.
They’re a more well rounded Allo Darlin with subtance wrapped around fundamentally sublime vocals and twee instrumentation. Glorious start to the day.
A blissful wait at the mainstage in the incredible sunshine for Oxford’s Dive Dive. A band a lot of people here will have seen without their lead singer. Here Jamie Stuart is a welcome change of pace up front, really shredding and bringing an Americana style to a weekend dominated by British artists, not that he isn’t one. The clarity of his vocals are vital to the balance of the band’s sound as it would be easy to get lost in some pretty pristine hardcore sounds.
The other remarkable thing about Dive Dive is each members’ command of their instrument, it makes for an intricately well crafted punk sound. They really are brilliant, hopefully they’ll be sticking to their day job for a more concentrated period over the next year.
I don’t often promise artists I’ll go and see them but as I was already going to see Bristol’s very own oxygen thief- Oxygen Thief, I figured I may as well.
I’d like to reserve the label “inspirational” for Scroobius Pip later on but for one man to bring this sound is just that.
It’s his 200th gig and a lot of people here seem to know to know what’s in store and, thanks to his Zombie Lane neighbour (add me- http://facebook.com/outroversion Oo) we are all well prepared.
Kicking off with “Party Hard”, a scene setting anthem and followed by an empassioned display for “Modesty is Dead” with great lyrics like “if patience is a virtue, what’s the point in urgency?” a fiery showing with warping guitar and anyone who wasn’t paying total attention to this guy now was.
All sing-along and clap-along, this is a good, unique time. Filled with stories and incident such as spilling beer over his pedals half way through a song and having to “Michael Winslow” his way through the effects.
I don’t know if all his sets are this action packed but judging by the reactions from those that know him, it is. A great, great time.
Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun
Taking the chance to get further acquainted with JLSS you begin to notice just how good the lyricism is.
From heartbreaking “Waitress” to new song “O Holy Magda” the lyrical potency is exceptional. Where they’ve got it spot on is they’re fantastic just to listen to but you know there’s always something more to be gained frm seeing them one more time.
It’s hard to pick a moment but title track from their debut album “Atlases” is arguabley the highlight, it is a bit perfect. They’ll close the festival with this one day.
I didn’t know much about The King Blues prior to the build up to the festival, to be honest I’d assumed they were a metal band (I… don’t know why). As it turns out they are the perfect warm up for Scroobius Pip’s first festival headlining.
The only reason I was aware of them was seeing their name on posters at various venues around the country and it’s thanks to this relentless schedule that they’ve built up such an immense fanbase.
Inbetween stories of writing letters to the Daily Mail and to Robson & Jerome, their devoted fans shouted the lyrics from various songs from their first three albums back at the punk outfit. There’s some serious sing along moments and Jamie Jazz brings his daughter on for a number and even not knowing the band you could tell this was a pretty sweet moment for everyone involved.
This is a group that is all about the music and that’s great to see. Itch’s wordplay was the perfect warm up for the main event.
The guys have taking most of this year off from gigging with Scroobius Pip focusing on his solo spoken word projects, up coming album and on Millwall FC.
The feel of the set had the feel of a club or rave, which I would hate- however these guys seem to have a way of getting you in the mood! Choosing at will from first two albums Angles & Logic of Chance they held this crowd and whipped them into hysteria with legendary anthems “Thou Shalt Always Kill” and “Beat that my Heart Skipped” getting the same rapturous response as more intricate creations such as periodic table referencing “Development” and Dizee Rascal sampling “Fixed”. Swigging from a bottle of red wine Scroobius Pip revelled in this moment by not taking a breath, pumelling the audience with song after brilliantly crafted song.
Despite finding Scroobius Pip to be a huge inspiration over the past few years, there are so many great spoken word artists around and he is undoubtedly the godfather, it would be rude to gloss over the importance of Dan Le Sac to this act. His labyrthinthial beats lay a solid gold foundation for Pip’s words and turn thought provoking word play into mammoth club tracks. And you don’t need to be a fan of both to appreciate the other constituent.
Relevant and poignant, euphoric and banging they had everything and gave it everything. It’s hard not to feel humbled.
*Photos from various sources and unfortunately not from
2000 Trees 2011. Camera Problems on day 2 :(