My Truck experience started later than advertised due to having to work! After speeding down the A34 (Disclaimer: speeding added for excitement purposes only) I finally arrived and had an agonizing wait in the queue to get my press pass being able to hear Lonely the Brave knowing I was missing them, so my introduction to Truck this year was me wanting to do an angry old person shaking finger pointing at whoever was at the front of the queue holding me up. Once I was finally in I closed in on the tent where Lead vocalists David Jakes voice was belting out their hits. I finally made it into the tent and got myself a good spot (hooray) for their last song (boo) ‘The blue and the green’. The Crowd were loving it and as they ended there was a large group of people hugging and jumping in celebration of getting to see one of the best bands at the moment (well that is how I interpreted it anyway).
Meeting up with the rest of the AltCorner Photographers, we quickly headed over to the Virgins and Veterans tent a few yards away to catch the end of Lucy Leaves set, I have seen this band a few times in and around Oxford and they didn’t disappoint losing their truck virginity, they were as always weird, very listenable to and entertaining.
Next was food and with so many of the Food Stalls being for Charity I got to eat while feeling good about myself (win!!!). There was an amazing amount of choice available from the standard burgers to fish and chips, curries, wraps, pies, chicken, hog roast I could go on but it would probably get boring or hungry people will drool so much they break their keyboards.
Then it was onto Moose Blood at the Nest which was rammed with a chanting crowd and deservedly so even from my outside the tent spot in the crowd they won me over with their well I don’t know really as well I just like what I like and this time it was the fast beat and good guitars.
Now it was time for the Headliners Catfish and the Bottlemen, who even with their crowd pleasing performance didn’t really do it for me and were quite forgettable. They did have the crowd singing along though so they must have been doing something right.
The temperature was already rising at Truck and Saturday was started off with an energetic leotard wearing wiseman Mr Motivator who gave sound advice to the large exercising crowd including the gem “the grass is only greener on the other side if you don’t water your own!” Great pep talk to start the day.
After the tiring standing around and watching people exercising I decided I deserved a reward of a Burrito so off I headed to join the large queue (worth it). Whilst eating my reward JUDAS started up on the main stage a crowd began to form as they played, I liked the guitars and they managed to drag my attention away from my food.
Due to my late arrival the day before I hadn’t had chance to investigate the festival site so before the temperature rose even more off I headed and I found the market tent with all the people hiding from the sun (turns out hiding in a tent is even hotter!!!) I had arrived just in time though to see Esther Joy Lane though obviously nervous that didn’t show in her performance with her melodic voice at odds against the electronic beat but all working together brilliantly I wasn’t sure whether to get up and dance or lay back and listen, I went with lay back and listen in the graveyard of sunglasses (I must have counted 6 broken pairs).
Next I visited the Saloon which by now was a sweat box it hadn’t stop a crowd forming for Stevie Ray Latham though with his twangy guitars (yes that is a technical term honest) and my weakness for folk music I was happy. Definitely one to listen to.
I was then dragged kicking and screaming (well on the inside anyway) away from the Saloon and ended up at the V&V tent again where Lee Christian & the Prohibition Smokers Club are doing their thing. I find them to be a mish mash of sounds that all sound good but to my ears they didn’t go together, they did have a decent crowd though so to other people’s ears they must have been doing something right!
Now I am up to the bit in the review that I before I started going to festivals put the fear into me the dreaded festival port a loo the stuff of nightmares, well that’s what I thought anyway and to be honest after my dalliance with the ones at the Oasis Heaton Park concert my opinion didn’t change, I am pleased to say though that since that nightmare Festival Port a Loos have improved and become a much better experience and I can confirm that Trucks were clean and not too full (you’re welcome for that image) I do have to confess to only using them once because I had backstage access to the epic running water toilets (hahaha, yes I rinsed my press pass for all it was worth).
Back to the festival now at the V&V stage again to listen to the epic Alphabet Backwards, singer James voice made my ears happy and the music was bouncy, infectious and even the sound person having the keyboard volume too high and almost drowning everything else out couldn’t put a dampener on their performance. As testament to their awesomeness the tent was rammed and so I was relegated to the outside which caused the only other blip the fact that the noise from the Nest was drifting over and interrupting my enjoyment, The Nest and V&V tent being so close was great when I needed to get between quickly but I found them to be too close sound wise. I stuck around after to watch Flight of Helios, the highlight of the performance was the Horns of Plenty joining in from the crowd in a prearranged accompaniment. The crowd were enjoying it and the performance seemed flawless it just wasn’t to my taste.
I was finally allowed back to the Saloon and found one of my Highlights of the festival in Danni Nicholls with her incredible soulful, clear and husky voice which is a perfect fit for her heart wrenching uplifting songs, a personal favourite was a little redemption. I barely noticed heat in the sweat box (Saloon) which steadily filled until people couldn’t get to the bar anymore with people getting pulled in by the raw sounds rooted in Americana an absolute treat to listen to.
Then staying in the Americana theme came BJ Barham opening his set with a song as emotionally hard hitting as the first 10 minutes of the Disney Film UP!! I am sure if I could have torn my eyes away to look at the crowd I would have seen blubbering messes as it was I only sure my friend next to me who was indeed a blubbering mess. The rest of the set did not get any easier on the heartstrings with his songs bringing up feelings you didn’t even know you had, and it was my second highlight of the weekend. He may have turned the Saloon crowd into sobbing shells but their days were made better by listening it was a performance not to be missed.
There was then a mad rush to get to Basement who were performing in the Nest, I managed to get up the front and the fog machine was working overtime!! They were just silhouettes but they had the crowd rocking with their energetic and enthusiastic performance.
Last up was The Manic Street Preachers a band I’ve wanted to see since I was a spotty 14 year old with terrible hair. I got to not only see them but photograph them from the main stage, absolute dream come true. They blasted straight into ‘Motorcycle emptiness’ and finished up with ‘A design for life’ spacing the big hits throughout the set. For a big band that’s been doing this for years they genuinely sounded pumped up and excited to be there and as politically angry and motivated as they have ever been, which is always a relief.
Sunday saw the AltCorner team spending a large portion of the day hanging around the (new for this year) Nest stage which was being hosted by sister labels Alcopop and Big Scary Monsters, showcasing some of their best bands.
Recent signing to Alcopop Happy Accidents were up first and were the perfect way to wake up a sleepy, (possibly hungover) tent. Absolutely winning over anyone that hadn’t seen them previously, by the end of their set I think they gained a fair few new fans and hopefully sold a few copies of their debut album. Personally some very relatable lyrics over a very catchy sound (and the happiest drummer in the world!)
Next up, Cassels who despite their protests just seem to get better each time I see them. Highlight was new track ‘Cool Box’ gut wrenchingly personal lyrics combined with Jim’s strangled vocals over that immense level of noise giving all the feels. Keep an eye on these lads.
By this point the temperature was creeping up towards the 30 degree mark and the three day old open urinals next to the tent had an almost visible haze of stink around them but after three feet of mud at Download festival I wasn’t going to complain for a second.
The searing heat and sweatiness of all the tents led to us finding shelter in the shade of the saloon tent where we chose to listen to, rather than watch, Loud Mountains mainly because there was no way of getting in the Saloon as it was rammed with the crowd spilling out of the doors. Luckily the thin walls allowed us not miss out on hearing them for the fourth time (second time having to hover outside!!). Their toe tapping twist on Americana makes it impossible not to feel good and they one of the most enjoyable acts of the weekend.
After Seeing and smelling these amazing looking wraps for two days and not knowing where they were coming from I finally found the source… It was a bbq… They were giant lamb wraps which I of course after standing in line for 15 minutes then attempted to get through whilst watching local band Too many Poets. This sadly turned out to be one of their last shows and I ended up with more coleslaw and lamb on my toes than in my mouth. Both activities very much worth it.
Oh Boy! kept the happy vibes going with their noisy but catchy sound
Get Inuit left me humming their track ”my oh my’ for literally days after. Catchy tunes with a hidden rawness, a good few people in the crowd were won over and bouncing along by the end.
Yndi Halda finally a band with enough members to fill the giant width of the Nest stage. Swirling euphoric crescendos giving us all a lesson in how post-rock should sound. All slightly mesmerising to watch such an impressive sound being created in front of your eyes.
We love a bit of Gnarwolves at Altcorner, they never disappoint and this was no exception. The Nest was rammed by then and despite talking about performing to new people at festivals this was obviously a dedicated Gnarwolves crowd. Some great little interactions with the crowd managing to fit in some important discussions into a fun lively as ever set with all new and old hits.
Then we went home. Tired, slightly tipsy and very happy. See you next year Truck!
Written by Vicki Bailey with a little help from Helen Messenger.