The Revue sent the two-headed photography monster of Paul and Marcus down to Oxfordshire to cover the 20th annual Truck Festival. They found 174 bands, 17 DJs, a great deal of rain, and a few inches of mud. In this report they cover some of what they saw on the two main stages (out of the seven on offer). Watch out for Part 2, which visits the outlying stages and brings you some of the lesser-known bands.
Marcus tells us about his highlights:
I wasn’t that bothered about the headliners on the main stage – Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, and The Vaccines. Having recently seen Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, and The Wombats at Community Festival, I was more interested to see some really great bands further down the billing.
Hadn’t come across these guys before, and they were a great find ahead of the first rainstorm on day one. Bath’s Bad Sounds have a real summer groove to their tunes, like a blend of the best of Hot Chip and the Scissor Sisters. Also had a chat with them after they came off stage, and they seemed genuinely surprised that I had taken the time to tell them how much I enjoyed the set. Not sure if that means they were being humble or if they were just bemused by being accosted by a grey-haired photographer. Still have “Zacharia” stuck in my head, which isn’t bad for three days and about 40 other bands later. Masters of earworms, obviously.
JAWS deserve to be included in this roundup, even though Paul covered them a couple of months ago. They filled the second stage tent to over capacity and could have/should have really been on the main stage, given they are currently the darlings of mainstream indie. Had the feeling they weren’t quite as relaxed as when we saw them at The Scala, but they still put on a toe-tapping show and got the very damp crowd even wetter. I also wanted to mention my theory that they’ve been listening to a little-known, yet superb, Brummie band from the late-’80s called The Mighty Lemon Drops. Indie kids, dig out a copy of their World Without End or Out of Hand LPs to see what I mean. Mind you, The Lemon Drops were just ripping off Echo and The Bunnymen…
British Sea Power
Festival favourites British Sea Power once again brought some trees with them to hand out to the baying crowd. They build songs that are simply structured, multi-layered, and highly addictive. You have to love a bona fide rock band that has a trumpet and violin making regular contributions. I found myself singing along to the first three tracks from behind my camera. Just don’t be a “Bad Bohemian”…..”Sex Freunde,” anyone?
Headlining the second stage on the first night. Australia’s Jagwar Ma have been on my radar for a while, but I hadn’t seen them live before. Suffice to say, the trio provided us with a very atmospheric (dimly lit) stage and a playlist of tunes that sounded a great deal more alive in person than on CD. Before tonight, I had thought of them as a bit of a Chemical Brothers rip-off, but I was wrong. I came away from the Market tent wondering why I hadn’t given them more of a chance and hope to see them again soon. Indie dance at its best.
Been waiting a while to see Pumarosa and to hear “Honey” at full ear-splitting volume. Strangely, they didn’t play it, except for a few bars strummed during the sound check. However, we were treated to some of my other favourite tracks during an energetic set, including “Priestess” and “Cecile.” So they are forgiven (even without “Honey”) and still deserve a place in my Top 5.
There wasn’t a moment’s break in the lineup at Truck this year. Straight from one tent to the next knowing you’ll miss the start of the next act you’re heading to, or the end of the act you’re watching. Luckily it was only raining, and the whole set was a puddle. By the time Sunday evening came around I’d collapsed like a big mess in the Press Area, telling tales of how I’d lost four setlists the wonderful girls at Carousel PR had given me (and my car) on Saturday night. In fairness, I did find it 25 minutes later…
Finally got confirmation that Sløtface is indeed pronounced Slutface. The Norwegian punk band were a popular choice for the muddy campers on Sunday as they kept the festival buzz going with their exciting tunes. They’re another band I really enjoy watching as they’re always looking like they’re having a ball on the stage. Lasse (bass) and Tor-Arne (guitar) march up and down the stage, barely remaining still long enough for me to get a shot of them! These guys are going places.
Due to delays with the stage times on Sunday, I only managed to catch a couple of Honeyblood‘s songs, but it was worth the rushing around. The Glaswegian duo sounded great as their killer riffs rang out of the tent and across the field, picking up a decent sized audience in no time at all. Honeyblood’s latest album, Babes Never Die, is out now, and I’ll be picking that up to see what I missed out on!
The Night Cafe
When you’re following on from Mr. Motivator’s morning motivating session on the main stage, you’re going to have to put in a decent performance to keep the crowd going on after their little exercise session! The Night Cafe from Liverpool have song after song that you’ll be able to sing along with. They’re simple, catchy songs that’ll get stuck in your head after they’ve left the stage. “I’m addicted to you, I’m addicted to you!” Slightly unfortunate with the poor weather conditions, but these guys made the most of it.
Wow! Dream Wife had been hyped up by a lot of people before their set, and there was definite reason for that. They’re fantastic. This was one of the festivals that went against the grain of mainly male lineups, and it was by far the right choice. Their stage presence is brilliant as Rakel’s voice tears through the speakers. If they can impress me this much in a half-hour slot, I can’t wait to catch a headline set from them.
Ardyn were a little unlucky to have an early slot on the main stage when there were still huge queues at the entrance. Katy Pearson has an extremely strong voice, which I found was very similar to the emotional sound of Miya Folick. It didn’t surprise me to hear that Bad Sounds had made a remix of Ardyn’s “Together.: Their songs have a real chilled club anthem feel to them.
Sunday’s headliners drew the biggest crowd of the festival, with what must have have been nearly the entire site crowded around the main stage. The Vaccines were a great choice to close the festival as the crowd joined in with nearly every word Justin Young sang. “Wetsuit” and “Wreckin’ Bar” have been two of my favourite songs for a long time, so to be down in the photo pit for those was quite an experience. Fireworks and confetti blasted out across the sky as the festival literally ended with a bang.
We can’t go without a few little mentions of some of the other performances on the main stages that made Truck Festival such a memorable one. Mr Motivator kicking off Saturday with an exercise class, as the hungover masses got a sweat on, and Oxford Orchestra managing to get a mosh pit going whilst Strauss was ringing across the field.
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