This ‘2000 Trees’ article was written by Lauren Geary, a GIGsoup contributor
Now in its ninth year, 2000 Trees, based in Gloucestershire and surrounded by the Cotswold Hills, prides itself on intimacy and has earned a reputation for perfectly balancing its line-up of a mix of underground acts from the depths of the rock and indie scene, with more established and notorious headliners. Featuring on The Guardian’s Guide to Britain’s Top 10 alternative festivals, Trees firmly gives the finger to commercialism and copy-cat line-ups, and says hello to character and atmosphere, which is particularly notable at the festival’s hammock and lantern-laden Forest stage.
With Trees’ 2015 headliners comprising of Deaf Havana and Alkaline Trio, the following list introduces and ranks a few of the line-ups more undiscovered offerings.
BRIDGES’ catalogue of energy filled indie anthems are infectious to say the least. The Bristolian four-piece, signed to Bearpit Records, indulged audiences with an acoustic set at the illustrious Forest stage, which oh-so-perfectly highlighted the rawness that their sound and song writing encompasses, and particularly flaunted their bellowing vocal harmonies. Along with this vocal mastery, their latest release ‘BFF’ embraces authentic guitar riffs, bass counter melodies and engulfing percussion.
Having spent the majority of the last year touring, including their own headline stint across the UK earlier this year, BRIDGES are quite obviously naturals at what they do, and it shows in the flawless production of their work. They emanate an exuberance that cannot be taught, and I would not be one bit surprised if national radioplay came their way in the not so distant future.
FOR FANS OF: Manchester Orchestra, Right Away, Great Captain!, Dear and The Highlights
You may register Solemn Sun under their previous moniker, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, however after an evolution of sorts, the four-piece alt-rock band from Cheltenham recently decided to drop the prefix, and up their aesthetic. Having previously supported Frank Turner and The Smashing Pumpkins across the UK and US, it is clear that these guys are solid musicians.
Solemn Sun’s most recent movement on their self-titled EP proves that they have appeal beyond the niche that made fans fall in love with them in the first place. It is never an easy task to convert a loyal fan base to change, however Lockey’s melancholic and ghostly vocals as he declares “I hold my head up high in defeat” in the below mentioned song, complimented with hook-laden melodies, poignant basslines and searing drums create such a supple atmospheric spectacle that fans and new audiences are not given a choice but to be captivated.
Put simply, Solemn Sun make provocative laid-back alt-rock anthems that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear at larger festivals very soon.
FOR FANS OF: Allusondrugs, Marmozets, Arcane Roots
LISTEN TO: I Saw
6. Ben Cipolla
“I’m Ben Cipolla, which basically means my name is Ben Onion”… And the charm doesn’t stop there.
Cipolla is essentially a 2015 reincarnation of Nick Drake crossed with the ‘Sunny Side Up’ vintage era of Paolo Nutini. The singer/songwriter from Wiltshire seamlessly blends elements of jazz and soul into his acoustic front to create an overall infectiously uplifting and sun-kissed sound that synaesthesia leads me to believe would be golden in colour if my auditory senses allowed it.
Team that with an ebullient stage presence and some delightfully evocative lyrics, and Cipolla manages to create imagery that could paint pictures, which is particularly evident within ‘Guesthouse’, which will leave you longing to sip sangria on a veranda overlooking the Italian coast, and could easily rival the magnitude of George Ezra’s ‘Budapest’.
FOR FANS OF: Paolo Nutini, George Ezra, Nick Drake
Nothing But Thieves, formed in 2012, make big catchy alt-rock on RCA Records – home of Bring Me The Horizon, Everything Everything and Swim Deep, amongst others, so they’re in good hands. Incorporating a mix of unusual chord progressions, thorny percussion, and soaring vocals to rival the likes of Matt Bellamy, which I can vouch are as impeccable live as they are recorded, Nothing But Thieves have created a sound that immediately grabs by the throat.
The five piece from Southend-On-Sea have already experienced a degree of breakthrough success after receiving hype from BBC Radio 1, landing stints as their Hottest Rcord and Track of the Day earlier this year. In addition to this the band have previously toured with Awolnation, Arcade Fire and Young Guns, yet after their performance at 2000 Trees, which saw audiences spilling out of The Axiom tent, I am sure that NBT’s days as an opening act are certain to end soon.
FOR FANS OF: Muse, Kasabian, Sunset Sons
LISTEN TO: Wake Up Call
4. Joe Dolman
Aged just 18 years old, Joe Dolman and his guitar produce folk-pop that makes your heart happy.
The singer/songwriter from Leamington Spa, who was picked to play at BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park last year alongside Blondie and Paloma Faith, creates layers of brilliance in his music. Combining hypnotic lyricism with cathartic tones, and tender yet melodious chords, a minimal approach is maintained that makes his sound raw, earnest and ultimately, believable; a feat not so often achieved by an artist so fresh into their musical career.
Dolman may be young in years, yet it’s been a long time since I heard music so full of feeling, in particular ‘Learning to Fly’, off of the EP of the same name, released earlier this year, which landed him in the top ten of the singer songwriter chart on iTunes amongst the likes of James Bay and Ben Howard.
One thing is for sure, Dolman certainly is not just another sheep in the Sheeran-esque trend of boy and guitar. There is certainly a sunny future ahead and his songs deserve your undivided attention.
FOR FANS OF: Damien Rice, Lewis Watson, Saint Raymond,
On their Facebook page The Skints describe their genre as ‘Frequency Murderation’, however for those of you who are yet to truly encounter and understand their sound this is not remotely helpful. Let me attempt to clarify.
A four-piece reggae-ska- punk-dub fusion (just listen, I promise), hailing from East London, The Skints’ instrumental mastery will transport you from your dark bedroom/local venue/muddy festival field (delete as applicable), to a cliché cloudless day in Jamaica. Their breakthrough has been a long time coming after forming as school friends in 2005, and since 2008 they have toured relentlessly across Europe, both with acts such as You Me At Six and The King Blues, and their own headline shows, gaining significant attention from BBC Radio 1.
Their unique blend of punk sprinkled East London reggae relays trials and tribulations of life in the capital city in an easy listening sunshine stained manor that could quite easily provide the soundtrack to both your pumped up Friday night or lazy Sunday morning.
The Skints are a giant wallop of addictive and a force to be reckoned with in reggae and beyond. If one thing is for sure, their infectiously fun performance at 2000 Trees proved that they are undoubtedly headline material.
FOR FANS OF: The Specials, The King Blues, Damian Marley
“All I ever wanted was to make you proud of me”-Fresh from touring the UK with Moose Blood earlier this year, carefree five-piece Boston Manor disrupt the emo pop-punk mould and refuse to sing about difficult girlfriends or hometown woes. Instead they build an audience rapport by indulging them with contagious hooks, grappling timbre and frank lyrics that demand engagement and identification.
Hailing from Blackpool and signed to Failure by Design Records, the guys released their most recent EP ‘Driftwood’ in 2014 which embodies bouncing riffs, high energy bass and thrashing percussion that echoes the early Blink-182 era.
Boston Manor verify that pop punk is certainly not dead, and have revolutionised the genre to bring about a mature edge with enough impetus that could see them erupt from the underground.
*Bonus points to Boston Manor for constructing one of the best EP covers of recent times, in which the lead singer convinced his granddad to adorn tiger face paint ala Phoenix Nights style. Bravo. Further proof that they are solid humans and worth your time.
SOUNDS LIKE: A Day To Remember, Decade, The Story So Far
LISTEN TO: Driftwood
1.The Cadbury Sisters
As the name suggests, The Cadbury Sisters are a group of three female siblings, who just so happen to be the direct descendants of the famous Cadbury Chocolate empire. In addition to being members of a nationally treasured genepool, the ladies, from Bristol, also make saintly contemporary folk.
To say that The Cadbury Sisters produce great harmonies would be a remarkable understatement, and ethereal seems more of an appropriate term. Within seconds of commencing their Trees performance the sisters effortlessly enraptured the audience and banished away all hum that usually accompanies live shows, stirring the feeling that The Forest was the only place you should ever really be, and a camp fire would not have been completely out of place.
Accompanied by a perfectly minimal use of keys, chords and percussion, the sisters’ lilting melodies really do take the centre stage of their emotionally charged sound which is nothing short of hypnotic, and has previously landed them recognition from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1. With an audio aesthetic that reeks of timeless sincerity, The Cadbury Sisters have the potential to be incredibly relevant for many years to come.
SOUNDS LIKE: First Aid Kit, Daughter, Laura Marling