Words: Sam Lawson | Header Image: Gareth Bull
Honey, i’m home. It’s festival season and therefore firstly i’m back working alongside my favourite publication in the south west and secondly, I find myself darting around the UK with my trusty cohorts from venue to venue, field to field and hopefully at some point ending up ultimately; in my bed. 2018 welcomes a new addition to my usual list of pit stops, this year that addition is 2000 Trees Festival in Cheltenham.
Having attended sister festival ArcTanGent last year, I have been very eager to see what the slightly more contemporary and definitely more accessible (regarding line up) of the two would have to offer. In preparation for the festival I have compiled a list (in no particular order) of bands I am looking forward to see.
A band i’ve been very on and off with throughout the course of their discography, not finding much to hold onto up until their recent release ‘Melancholia Hymns’, which I must say I have really warmed to. Their more vulnerable, melodic and electronic side is what really draws me in and keeps me there.
As a fan of hardcore and punk rock in general, it’s pretty hard, no matter how invested in the “good ol’ days” of the genres you are, to avoid coming across Turnstile and rightfully so. The band’s latest offering ‘Time & Space’ hears them doing what they do best but with a welcomed addition of great vocals and some serious genre bending ranging from spots of lounge/elevator jazz sounds to electronic inspired passages.
At The Drive-in
No brainer. Cedric and Omar are back where they belong, with each other and on stage. Whilst The Mars Volta are heralded amongst ArcTanGent crowds and organisers as legendarily important to the roots of the festival. This is undoubtedly for their perfect blend on post hardcore hooks and truly mind bending and experimental sonic assaults of progressive rock. Standing firmly on the frontlines of post hardcore but refusing to fight (or even crowd surf), the El Paso quintet are coming to show everyone how this sound is done and lay down the law, in undoubtedly the most respectful and humble way they can. Whilst their performances may not be quite as acrobatic and visceral as in their youth, from what I can gather, there’s nothing left to be desired after a set performed by any of the groups these two have put together over their time together. Also, this is officially my first time EVER seeing Cedric and Omar in real life with the actual eyes inside of my actual skull. Stoked isn’t the word, stoked isn’t even close to the word. 2000 Trees wins the award for best headliner of any modestly sized festival in the UK with At The Drive-in.
I’m very eager to see him perform live for the first time as someone who has spent a very long time comfortably at odds with the former Reuben frontman’s discography.
Naturally, amidst the post hardcore, experimental and emo musings, it is necessary every now and again to be reminded of what it feels like to be flattened by a canon, a canon that fires elephant carcasses dipped in bronze and liquid titanium. That over the top metaphor almost comes close to describing just how heavy Conjurer really are. Being heavily indebted to the UKTM scene, I find myself constantly amazed by these guys as well as other contemporaries of theirs such as Frontierer, for the levels to which they are able to completely lay waste to your stomach lining with vibrations alone.
The only time I ever saw Basement was a pretty sour event, I had spent a long time trying my hardest to avoid their music as well as their genre-mates such as Citizen, Turnover and Title Fight quite purely because I was having that music shoved down my throat in the most obnoxious way possible, every single day (we’ve all been there). After seeing them however, I changed my tune completely and it had a pretty profound impact on me in fact, kickstarting a pilgrimage to see every modern emo band that I possibly could up and down the country for the subsequent 12 months and still ongoing. I sadly missed them during their UK tour with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes last year as they pit-stopped in Bristol due to being ill. It’s time to make up for that and remind myself of what one of the best British emo bands sound like.
A band that I have always had an affinity for, even during times where it may have seemed out of character. Their 2007 debut ‘Take To The Skies’ was one of the album, like for many my age, that defined my time at secondary school and the people I was hanging around with. The band are renowned for the effortless ability to duck and weave from genre to genre and never afraid of asking the age old question; “Will it blend?”. Though I lost keen interest during ‘The Mindsweep’ era, their latest album ‘The Spark’ came into my life at a very vital time, songs such as ‘An Ode To Lost Jigsaw Pieces’ and ‘Airfield’ really emphasised just how good these boys are at writing emotionally heavy songs in contrast to their usual politically driven tracks.
New experiences are generally pretty exciting but, there are lots and lots of bands playing that i’ve never heard of and looking at the list of bands that I HAVE heard of, it’s safe to say these bookers clearly know what they’re doing so i’m sure i’ll leave with a new favourite band and that prospect is the cause of much excitement.