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LIVE: 2000Trees 2022 – Thursday

After three long, long years away, we’re finally back at our favourite festival. An homage to British and international artists alike, fans and band members are all in agreement that 2000Trees is the best festival in the UK and we couldn’t be happier to see its return. Despite the persistent heat and seemingly endless queues for ice cream, spirits are high as time and time again anyone in possession of a mic takes a moment to express their love for this independently run festival. After experiencing it ourselves, we’re in firm agreement. Here’s what we got up to at 2000Trees 2022.

Words by Yasmin Brown [YB] and Catie Allwright [CA]. Photos courtesy of 2000Trees​


Holding Absence​


It’s only Thursday afternoon and we’ve barely even managed to pitch our tent yet, but 2000Trees might have already peaked. A latecomer to this year’s line-up, Holding Absence were asked a week ago to play and of course they said “fuck yes”. This is their fifth time to grace the festival’s stage, for them the best weekend in the UK, and something will have gone hideously wrong if they’re not back to perform on the Main Stage (their last to tick off) in 2023. Just like 2000Trees itself, which has been steadily growing in popularity and reputation year-on-year, Holding Absence have been taking the alternative music scene by storm – and they truly deserve all of it and more.

Despite the slightly sketchy sound emanating from the Axiom Stage, and even though we’re only just getting warmed up, these five incredible musicians from Wales have us screaming, dancing and sobbing our hearts out. Their latest album ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’ came out last year, which almost everyone in the tent has clearly memorized from start to finish, but there’s no better set-closer than the devastatingly beautiful ‘Wilt’ from their self-titled release in 2019. Vocalist Lucas Woodland said we’d been perfect – but we’re just mirroring what’s in front of us. [CA]

Can’t Swim​


The tent might not be packed, but those who are in attendance for Can’t Swim’s set today aren’t messing around. These New Jersey natives immediately rouse the crowd and in no time at all, arms and legs are swinging at breakneck speed as fans lose themselves in their favourite songs. Most apt is ‘Set the Room Ablaze’, taking from the band’s latest album ‘Change of Plans’; today’s relentless head combined with the raucous nature of Can’t Swim’s discography has certainly ignited a fire in us all.

Frontman Chris LePorto sweetens up the non-male portion of the audience, dedicating ‘My Queen’ to “the ladies” (a nod to the LGBTQI+ community, perhaps, given the rainbow bandana tied around his arm), before playing one of the band’s most revered songs from 2018’s ‘This Too Won’t Pass’ with circle pits aplenty before the set takes a turn, becoming increasingly heavier with each song that passes. Shoes start to fly as this more chaotic part of the set ensues (if “more chaotic” is even really possible) as the band launches into ‘Prick’ and their favourite of all Can’t Swim songs, ‘Power’. 2000Trees marks their 8th time in the UK and it’s clear they feel comfortable in front of a British crowd, and as they close out their set with fan favourite, ‘Stranger’, we can only hope they’ll be back for a 9th time very soon. [YB]

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Dinosaur Pile-Up​


“Oh shit”, says lead singer and guitarist Matt Bigland. In his words, Trees is a fucking ace festival with nice people – but the setting sun is melting the eyeballs out of his face. That’s apparently only the first challenge as a shot of tequila just minutes before gracing the stage might have been a mistake. We almost have to serenade a very public vomit, but Bigland manages to hold it together through 50 minutes of rock and roll (the same can’t be said for drummer Mike Sheils who breaks his snare drum, which apparently happens at every gig).

The band may have gone through some changes in members over the years, but there’s a maturity to Dinosaur Pile-Up’s sound and performance… and a grassy open-air stage in Upcote Farm is the perfect place to enjoy it. Whether the aggressive riffs throughout songs like ‘Thrash Metal Cassette’ and ‘Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punk’ send you straight into a pit, or the velvety grooves in closing track ‘11:11’ create ripples through your limbs, there’s something for everyone from this grungy, angsty, melodious trio. [CA]

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Lonely the Brave​


Sauntering onto stage supported by a long track introduction, it’s clear that Lonely the Brave have been much anticipated by Thursday’s crowd. Things quickly fill up as they launch into their afternoon set as fans sip on increasingly warm cans of beers and inhale fast-melting ice creams under the protection of the tent, kicking off with the ever-loved, ‘Backroads’, much to the delight of those already in attendance.

With (not-so) new singer Jack Bennett at the helm, the setlist is made up of a combination of old and new songs, with Bennett clearly leaning into those he had a hand in writing and producing himself. With some time behind them, these newer songs see the crowd just as animated as those from previous albums, as clapping immediately to the likes of the first live performance of ‘Distant Light’. Lonely the Brave are a softer choice for 2000Trees but this crowd never misses an opportunity to crowdsurf, whatever the situation, and ‘Bound’ from 2021’s ‘The Hope List’ turns out to be such an opportunity part way through the set, setting the tone for the remaining few songs which were executed with a childlike energy. With just a couple of shows under their belt with Bennett leading the charge, it’s hard to believe these guys don’t have years of experience under their belt; so tight is their performance and so powerful are Bennett’s vocals. With a headline tour upcoming, they’re only set to get stronger and we’re excited to be here for the ride. [YB]

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Creeper​


The heat is lingering well into the evening and the crowd is swelling in anticipation of our cult favourite, Creeper. Walking around the festival, the “goth punk” quintet’s merch can be seen on what feels like every other person – so there’s absolutely no hesitation getting stuck in. Lead vocalist Will Gould seems in delighted disbelief at the crowd’s response to ‘Down Below’ – thousands of slightly-sunburned faces shouting back at him on cue – although no-one’s voice can compare to his deep, dulcet tones or those of the incredible backing vocalist Hannah Greenwood (whose stripped-back rendition of ‘Crickets’ is haunting).

Creeper’s most recent album ‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’ was released during the “troubled times” in 2020, so we’ve had plenty of time to familiarise ourselves with hit tracks including ‘Cyanide’, ‘Born Cold’, ‘Annabelle’ and almost country-esque ‘Poisoned Heart’, accompanied by plenty of well-worn favourites from ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’ (2017). This is a band that doesn’t simply play music, which would more than stand up in its own right. Their performance is a feast for the senses, erring just on the right side of gimmicky with costume changes, pyrotechnics and drama – and they clearly relish every second of their time on the Main Stage. Dracula is even roped in at the end to warn us that there’s evil afoot, and it’s very important we aren’t at Camden’s Roundhouse in November (unless you’d like to see Creeper’s biggest headline show to date, in which case tickets are on sale now – but it’s “laced with malice” so attend at your own risk). [CA]

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Cassyette​


A guttural scream emerges from the stage and it’s plain to see that Cassyette has arrived. This powerhouse has taken the UK by storm over the past year, becoming a frequent name on festival lineups and with her crowds increasing with every set. Today, her fans are eating out of the palm of her hand, screaming along with her and attempting to match the dirtier features of her vocals, unsurprisingly failing miserably given her unmatched ferocity. Fans climb on each others’ shoulders of their own volition, so desperate are they to feel more involved in the set, and while Cassyette encourages circle pits to open, it’s far from necessary as bodies are launched at other bodies freely and without hesitation. The only possible complaint is that today’s set ends a little sooner than expected, leaving us feeling robbed of another song or two, but as with any good performer, Cassyette left us wanting so much more and we won’t stop until we get it. [YB]

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Jimmy Eat World​


For a band that have been going for as long as Jimmy Eat World, it’s hard for them to find new ‘firsts’ to experience. Tonight, however, is one of those moments as the band headlines a festival of this size for the first time ever. They’re as humble as ever, of course, as frontman Jim Adkins marvels at the sight before him: “Oh my God, there’s so many of you”. And there are so many of us – all here to witness that glory that is Jimmy Eat World playing a headline set.

Never a band of many words, the four-piece make their way seamlessly through a 21 song setlist, pulling hit after hit from their extensive 23-year-long discography. The sound, as ever, is flawless and you can’t help but feel awestruck as freshly blown bubbles float overhead, popping gently above us. Songs such as ‘Futures’ and ‘Bleed American’ are played in stark contrast to this picture perfect scene, whereas the likes of ‘Blister’ (led by “your favourite member of Jimmy Eat World”, guitarist Tom Linton), the ever-emotional ‘Hear You Me’ and ‘23’, and a stunningly acoustic solo version of ‘555’ lend themselves perfectly to this movie soundtrack moment. Humble from start to finish, Adkins can’t help but repeat his gratitude as he looks out once more at the crowd before him. He admits they’ve never done a show like this, and it feels more special than ever – both for the band members on stage and every doting fan that gazes up at them. However many times you witness a Jimmy Eat World show, each feels more spectacular than the last. This one, however, will be tough to beat. [YB]

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