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2000 Trees Festival 2012 Roundup: Day 1

By on Tuesday, 24th July 2012 at 2:04 pm

How fitting it is for a music festival that prides itself on promoting the best of British, for it to rain. And not just the odd light shower, tropical monsoons that haven’t been seen since Noah swept across Cheltenham, turning a once grassy field into six inches of sludge. But that doesn’t matter because we’re British and we soldier on regardless. But it is handy there’s a tent stage to hide in…

Opening the biggest tent at 2000 Trees, dubbed The Cave, are the hardcore hooligans Crooks. Kickstarting a midday mud mosh to a half-full crowd of dazed onlookers, still zonked after the night before, their energetic and raucous half hour is a glorious display of Polar.-esque hardcore with the odd Rinoa post-metal rhythm. As local lads to the festival, they appear genuinely humbled to receive such support at this time of day, but things are just getting started.

It’s an atmosphere of anticipation and sadness before run, WALK! take to the stage. For the past few years they’ve been steadily carving a name for themselves on the UK circuit and achieved cult status amongst the general gig-going public. But now, on the cusp of releasing their long-awaited debut album ‘Health’, the dynamic duo are calling it a day. The Cave is still filling as the noisy two-piece start blasting out their brash, anarchic indie-metal (if there is such a thing), with little time for crowd interaction. Matt Copley’s vocals are secondary to the rhythm section that rages on forcefully, engulfing everyone like an amorphous blob of sound. Elements of Lightning Bolt and Fuck Buttons are thrashed out chaotically, igniting the first circle pit of the day, as run, WALK! finish seemingly as soon as they’d begun. A quick hug between the two signal the end. A sad situation.

Thankfully the sun has finally started shining to try and lift the mood. The Main Stage area is a waterlogged patch of overgrown grass, steadily being trampled by thousands of pairs of wellies. Leicester instrumental outfit Maybeshewill are no strangers to 2000 Trees, and their fans are falling in line to watch the five-piece (complete with two extra members on strings) deliver a satisfying helping of post-rock with a side order of power. Alternating between the grandiose and the frantic, Maybeshewill’s rolling waves of sound wash over the captivated audience who are gradually becoming stuck in the mud. ‘Not for Want of Trying’ is the crowning moment of the performance as 2000 Trees erupts in a state of rage, screaming the words to the infamous “mad as hell” speech in ‘Network’.

Turning this madness into radness are the Mancunian skankers Sonic Boom Six. With the magnetic Laila K peering out into the ever-growing sea of punks and partiers, SB6 are the ultimate festival band – nothing but bangers and mash-ups. Dropping the likes of ‘For the Kids of the Multiculture’ and ‘Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang!’, it’s the mini-covers that excite Cheltenham the most. Throwing in samples of Lily Allen and Jessie J add to the poptastic, school disco vibe but flowing into ‘Poison’ by the Prodigy during ‘Virus’ receives a monumental response from ravers young and old. Although it’s the well-placed rendition of Wyclef Jean featuring The Rock’s ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ that puts huge smiles on the faces of everyone within a certain age bracket.

Slowing things down later in the afternoon are TGTF favourites Dry The River. Since finding fame earlier this year with debut album ‘Shallow Bed’, the folky fivesome live up to the hype. Opening on ‘No Rest’, the bodies amassing at the Main Stage are pouring their hearts into the passionate choral lines while Peter Liddle and Matt Taylor’s beautiful dual falsetto soars majestically into the surrounding fields. Forcing as many tracks into their set as possible, including ‘Bible Belt’ and ‘History Book’, the sun-drenched revellers soak up the emotive, acoustic melodies that Britain does so well.

Back in The Cave, the only American at a British music festival is doing his best to destroy the tent from the inside. Former Alexisonfire vocalist Wade MacNeil joined Gallows last year after Frank Carter’s departure, to a mixed reaction. But the previous worries can be set aside after tonight’s visceral attack of hardcore horror. After opening on ‘Misery’, Wade launches himself into a huge puddle of mud, covering himself from head to toe – spreading it all over the stage and front row. Steph Carter plays a much more integral part of the vocals nowdays, commanding the more ‘Londony’ sections that Wade simply couldn’t pull off convincingly. Gallows, though, are still Gallows. Inked up punks who love nothing more than to scream and smash their way through every gig until every bead of sweat has hit the floor. Spitting and snarling through ‘True Colours’, ‘Death Voices’ and ‘Abandon Ship’ amongst other favourites, even a cover of Minor Threat‘s ‘Seeing Red’, new track ‘Last June’ opens the floor to a veritable rat’s nest of turmoil. Welcome to the family, Wade.

Gallows’ punishing display has cracked the clouds wide open and the rain is tumbling down ferociously. But in the comfort of The Cave, Pulled Apart By Horses (pictured at top) are headlining to a capacity crowd. The Leeds-based maulers have become a mainstream success since their last appearance at 2000 Trees, drawing over a thousand people into the intimate sweatbox. Lashing their way through ‘The Crapsons’, ‘V.E.N.O.M.’ and new release ‘Bromance Ain’t Dead’. The constant crowd surges toward the front crush the die-hard fans at the front who show no signs of stopping stripping their throats raw. ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ energises the pit to maddening levels and ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ lifts the volume to deafening levels inside the big blue home of metal. PABH are noticeably grateful for the reception they receive tonight, especially as festival mainstays 65daysofstatic are currently demolishing the Main Stage. They’ve come a long way from clubs in Leeds to headlining a tent at Britain’s foremost new music festival – a testament to their longevity at the front of the new breed of rock ‘n roll.


Beach Break Live 2012: Day 3 Roundup

By on Friday, 29th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

Sunday at Beach Break Live 2012 provided solace from the rain at last, the sun reared its beautiful/overdue shining face midway through the morning and immediately it was time to hit the beach, for the first time.

The stage situated on the beach was a simple one, playing host to a variety of acoustic acts who all believed that they we going to all do an Ed Sheeran and become immensely popular. Sadly, the talent on show meant that if they were to do a Sheeran, it would take 100x as much luck as the ginger-haired ‘Lego House’ maker had.

The first highlight on the main stage were another TGTF favourite, Dry the River. While the audience may have just been using them as a bridging act before 90% of the crowds crush for Ben Howard, the Dry the River boys still knocked out a fantastic set, with astounding depth, especially from a band only 1 album old. ‘New Ceremony’ is an anthem soaring wildly above Pembrey, and on that track alone, it is easy to see why there is such a buzz about them in 2012. ‘No Rest’ was a joy to behold, and the boys left the stage with their heads held high. They’d won this fight. Onto bigger things, methinks!

One of the acts which everyone had been waiting in earnest for was up next. That “beautiful blonde man”, Ben Howard. Now, while I was told before how he had bullied a member of the crowd back at school for not paying attention, I watched on in amazement as from the first strum of his acoustic guitar he held crowds gaze with seemingly no effort.

Now while his set may have been cut short, meaning that the audience were starved of hit ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and popular fan favourite cover track ‘Call Me Maybe’, in the short set he was allowed, he pulled out all the stops to an audience who obviously held him in an extremely high regard. Track ‘The Wolves’ closed the set and with a casual howl, he left. I can’t say he won over anybody that day though, mainly because everyone around me knew every word and seemingly worshipped him. Screaming girls and all. Hardly Beatlemania, but Benmania seems like it’s taking off.

To help close the weekend, the English indie heavyweights the Maccabees strutted onstage. Now while their songs are brilliant, after the excitement and sense of unpredictability that Ben Howard created in his earlier set, the larger and more established Maccabees struggled to mirror it. Sure, the diehards at the front clung to every word, but by and large the audience were largely unreceptive to the band.

Friendly Fires were the final act of the weekend and with weights of expectations high, they delivered, with a cracking set covering both ‘Pala’ and their self-titled debut. ‘Hawaiian Air’ soared through the muggy Welsh breeze and their stylish, indie beats were the perfect end to a weekend of beer, dancing and fantastic music.


(Beach Break Live 2012 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #31: Matthew Taylor of Dry the River

By on Thursday, 7th June 2012 at 11:00 am

Dry the River‘s singer and guitarist Matthew Taylor was kind enough to answer our Quickfire Questions ahead of their appearance in Wales at students’ festival Beach Break Live this summer. You’d never guess what late singer he was obsessed with. (At least we never would have thought it for a moment!) And what album he’d bring to have a party with in heaven. Read on…

1. What song is your earliest musical memory?
My Mum had ‘Bad’ and ‘Dangerous by Michael Jackson’ on vinyl and I used to rotate them – just play them back to back constantly, and try and do the dance routines in our living room. I still do that sometimes.

2. What was your favourite song as a child?
Either ‘Dirty Diana’ or ‘Smooth Criminal’. I was obsessed, I made my mum make me his costumes.

3. What song makes you laugh?
‘The Clap’ by Yes. Ridiculous. So long.


4. What song makes you cry?
‘Philadelphia’ or ‘Words (Between The Lines Of Age)’ by Neil Young.

5. What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ by The Beach Boys and ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ by Steppenwolf. I remember cruising around in my cousin’s car when he passed his test, talking endlessly about girls with these tunes blaring out of the sub we bought from Halfords.

6. What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I can’t really think of any music that makes me feel angry about anything in particular – maybe just anger towards the music if it’s bad! I find if I need to calm down I’ll put on ‘Agaetis Byrjun’ by Sigur Ros – that will do the trick. It blisses you out.

7. Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Climax’ by Usher, or ‘Heartbreaker’ by Led Zeppelin – I wish I’d written that riff.

8. Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
This changes all the time! At the moment I am obsessed with the songs of Townes Van Zandt. I listen to him every single night. His writing is so pure and his voice has so much conviction, it blows my mind. He had some big problems, and you can hear how bad they are in the songs…it gets pretty dark, but it’s amazing music.

9. If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I shudder to think! I didn’t know what to do other than music when I was growing up. I even studied it at uni… Pete would be in medicine, Sill would maybe be a theologian, but I think me, Scott and Jon would be recording dodgy math-rock jams on an 8-track somewhere…

10. If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
I’d say ‘OK Computer’ or ‘Harvest’, but everyone else will bring copies of them…so perhaps I’d bring ‘Loud’ by Rihanna in case we want to have a disco at any point.

After a busy festival season, Dry the River will head out on a UK tour in October and November – all the details are here.


Dry the River / October and November 2012 UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 8th May 2012 at 9:00 am

Dry the River have announced a tour of the UK for this autumn. Strike while the iron’s hot, yes?

The band perform at the Great Escape this week, making appearances at a secret VEVO show on Friday afternoon, followed by a performance at the Corn Exchange that night at 23.45.

Tuesday 16th October 2012 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 17th October 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 18th October 2012 – Gloucester Guildhall
Tuesday 23rd October 2012 – Wrexham Central Station
Wednesday 24th October 2012 – Liverpool Kazimier
Thursday 25th October 2012 – Preston 53 Degrees
Friday 26th October 2012 – York Fibbers
Saturday 27th October 2012 – Sheffield Leadmill
Monday 29th October 2012 – Stoke Sugarmill
Tuesday 30th October 2012 – Birmingham Library
Wednesday 31st October 2012 – Bath Komedia
Thursday 1st November 2012 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire


(Great Escape 2012 flavoured!) Live Review: Dry the River at Newcastle Cluny – 28th April 2012

By on Friday, 4th May 2012 at 2:00 pm

London-based five-piece Dry the River are garnering all sorts of plaudits for their debut long-player Shallow Bed. Combining gentle, meadowy folk with grandiose post-rock wig-outs, seasoned with a peppery gothic tang, their sound simultaneously nods to decades past, whilst achieving a fresh slant on a number of styles which were in danger of becoming parodies of themselves. In an attempt to convey their sound in writing, all sorts of comparisons have been made, chiefly to contemporary populist folk revivalists Mumford and Sons; much the same point can be made by comparing a Big Mac to rare roast rib of beef.

Even at first glance of the band in the flesh, it is apparent that superficial comparisons to the Mumford mummy’s boys fall wide of the mark. There’s not a mandolin or waistcoat in sight; what there is is heavy tattoos, skinny jeans, and an AC/DC t-shirt. Singer Peter Liddle, barefoot and flame-haired, accommodates within his slight frame a voice which in its throaty delicacy displays an uncanny similarity to Jeff Buckley. The electric guitar undulates from gently overdriven picking to frantic power chords. There’s harmony vocals, a particularly animated bassist with an impressive beard, and as is becoming increasingly common these days, a violin.

Most importantly, there are songs – excellent ones at that. The set list is pretty much the entirety of ‘Shallow Bed’ (Luke’s review of the album can be read here) with the running order rearranged. Each piece is as strong as the last; the one-hour set doesn’t sag in the middle as is the risk with young bands. The songs kick in with memorable aphorisms, progress at a fine pace and never outstay their welcome. Impressively, the arrangements are both more delicate and yet carry more impact than on record. From the gentle guitar plucking and intertwining violin of ‘Shaker Hymns’, via the sweeping finale of ‘Weights and Measures’, to the mentalist noise that concludes ‘Lion’s Den’, the material works even better shorn of production fripperies, with the simplest of presentations. Most of these songs are proper pop tunes: ‘History Book’ for example, beautifully arranged and carrying quite some punch in its guitars, remains accessible and catchy as a frisbee.

They come back for one more song – the only one left that they haven’t played – and leave to rapturous applause from a genuinely appreciative sold-out crowd. A less manufactured-looking band it’s difficult to imagine, but if one had to combine several demographics – mum-friendly folk-pop, chewy chunks of teenage moshing, a touch of ’60s psychedelia, dashed with Stonehenge mysticism – this would be the result. A fascinating band who look to have a good year in front of them.

Dry the River are scheduled to play at 23.45 on the Friday (11 May) at the Corn Exchange at this year’s Great Escape.


Album Review: Dry the River – Shallow Bed

By on Thursday, 15th March 2012 at 4:30 pm

They say the most important element of a good comedy act is timing, the same thing can be said of a good album. Nowadays it’s commonplace for a band to come out all guns blazing and smash through an intro track, then the lead single, then a backup single, then seven tracks of filler material. After 12 minutes you’re left underwhelmed, bored and just wishing the LP would hurry up and get back to the ‘good bits’. But just as good comedians are rare but worth waiting for, as are records.

London-based quintet Dry the River have released their debut album that isn’t in a rush to get anywhere. Yes, there’s a climax and a fantastic story is told throughout, but it’s not a mad rush of clanging and strumming to showcase just how catchy they can be. The love story told during the 50 minutes of ‘Shallow Bed’ is much more engaging than anything the radio fodder guitar bands have released in years.

The sound is one of serenity and passion that lends itself to frontman Peter Liddle’s tale of happiness, heartbreak and hope. Starting with ‘Animal Skins’, Liddle’s beautiful falsetto voice lends itself perfectly to the whimsical, floaty nature of Dry The River’s inherently calm music. But as the record progresses Liddle’s lyrics become the focal point that really elevate them above their peers. Descriptions of “dancing to the shipping forecast” with his partner conjure images of adoration and the unmitigated devotion he feels.


Musically the band create monumental soundscapes that are truly impressive. The blend of guitars, drums, a violin and Liddle’s unmatched vocal ability are responsible for a stadium-sized sound that doesn’t sprint to the finish line but takes in its surroundings and gives its all for the full marathon. The huge swelling choruses of ‘Shield Your Eyes’ and ‘The Chambers and the Valves’ (previous Video of the Moment here) stand out against the usual indie-rock twaddle, and ‘Demons’ is so wonderfully hypnotic with its choir-like vocals that you struggle not to get sucked into the love story unfolding before your ears.

The story takes a downward turn, though, toward the end shortly after lead single ‘No Rest’ in which Liddle emotionally declares he “loved you in the best way possible”. Despite it becoming increasingly clear the previous songs of finding love are going to crumble, the sound is oddly uplifting. ‘Weights and Measures’ is the epitome of the break up as he finally admits its gone, even though he was “prepared to love you, I never expected anything of you”. Whether you’re currently single or in a relationship, this song will undoubtedly remind you of someone you are/were close to – and that’s the point of the album. Although on the surface it’s just one man’s struggle with his feelings, it’s something everyone can relate to. Whether it’s one who got away at school or even a messy divorce, the idea of love is so universal that it can be felt by everyone for anyone and music written about this ideal of unimaginable compassion is for everyone.


Dry the River’s debut album ‘Shallow Bed’ is available now from RCA.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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