Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Truck Festival 2013: Review

Shoe Cups
There was far too much to write about so here I have included a few of my favourite moments and acts of the weekend. Enjoy!
We arrived on a very hot Friday afternoon stocked up with beers, ice and all the water we could fit in to Tommy’s van.  As we queued for our passes at the box office I could hear Candy Says beginning their set.  I was gutted to be missing it but the queue was long. Luckily we could hear them loud and clear from our slow moving line.  I whistled along to Melt into the Sun as I started to melt in the sun...

Happy Truckers
Once we were in we grabbed a beer.  I decided to try the strawberry cider which was initially refreshing but then left a strange aftertaste in my mouth.  It was easily fixed though by the famous Rotary Club Donuts.  I’ve missed these guys! It was great to see more foodie choice in the form of The Food Hall. Pizzas and smoothies, noodles and ice cream. And “SUSHI”, which was hard to forget as it was shouted at you each time you walked past.  I decided the only sensible thing to do was to shout “Sushi”  back and punch the air in a kind of raw-fish appreciation cheer. 

We (temporarily) escaped the sushi obsessives and headed to The Saloon Bar to watch Empty White Circles.  The Saloon Bar was incredibly authentic and immediately became my favourite stage.   Small glass chandeliers swung from the corrugated roof and the bar stools were made up of blocks of wood topped off with a horse saddle seat to rest your weary butt in. Amazing!  I’ve heard a lot of good things about Empty White Circles and I have to agree that they are a great band.  They totally rocked the small stage in The Saloon and although the heat was rising that didn’t put them off.  I feared for the Spasm band in the evening, how would they cope in their suits and fine headwear?

Then I had to take a nap.  I’m a little gutted to admit it but it was just too hot to carry on and the novelty cider had sought it’s revenge on my pounding brain.  I overslept but managed to race to the Virgin and Veterans tent just in time to catch the end of Ags Connolly.  As I listened to his sweet country songs I felt somewhat soothed; I should have chosen to nap in here instead.
Huck & the Xander Band

There was nothing much left to report on the Friday apart from a great bit of nosh at the ‘Appealing Food’ stall run by the lovely Rotary Club staff.  The ‘Trucker’s Meal’ of lentil dahl, flatbread, bahjis and never-ending supply of sauces and chutneys is Truck tradition!  Easy on the lime pickle though, folks.  After a couple of beers and little bit of Spiritualized we had built up enough stamina to enter The Saloon Bar which was heaving with people enjoying The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band.  There are a few new additions to the band since I last saw them including a sax player who looks like he was on loan from the mafia.  Everyone was gyrating to the beat and the mix of music and heat must’ve been taking affect as one woman was wildly dancing wrapped up in a full fur coat. Sweaty.  The floor was vibrating, the floorboards creaking, and I wasn’t sure if the Saloon Bar would withstand the entire set as more people piled in through the swinging doors, but who cares if the floor falls in when the music is this good.

Salvation Bill
Hello Saturday and no hangover. All that hydration did the trick and by 11.00am I had the energy of a young kitten chasing its tail (well, almost).  We headed to The V and V tent for The Holy Orders who were a great start to the day and then headed towards the main stage for iced coffee, more donuts and The Arrows of Love.  These guys were incredibly captivating and are currently 'making waves' in London. They were great on this stage but I imagine a more enclosed venue would really show off the full intensity of their set.  Someone book them for Oxford please!  Next we quick-marched to the Barn Stage for Salvation Bill.  Already a big fan of Ute and Old Grinding Young I was excited to see Ollie’s new 5 piece band.  I didn’t expect to be so blown away as I was by it though and their set became one of my favourite of the entire festival.  The 5 part harmonies are dramatic and the songs are clever, witty and loud.  This is definitely the best line-up Ollie’s had and I hope this composition is around for the long run.  I also enjoyed the taxidermy crow sitting on Ollie’s shoulder that appeared to head band as Ollie and the rest of the band rocked out. Crawk!

The Epstein
Next was an incredible set from Swindlestock who got the room dancing and proved that you can fit more than 8 people on the Saloon stage.  They were followed by Huck and the Xander Band. You already know how much I like them and it was great to see them get a spot at Truck in a venue that seemed incredibly fitting to Huck’s songs about a young boy’s move from Texas to NOLA.  After a mostly overcast day the sun finally came out and the audience stood to attention and stomped their feet (mostly) in time to songs of forbidden love in an evangelical State.  Afterwards we basked in the evening sun and watched Co-Pilgrim in the V and V tent which fitted our mellow and chilled-out mood perfectly.  They were shortly followed by Thomas Truax, a true Truck veteran, and he told us tales of why dogs howl at the moon and kidnapped butterflys with the aide of The Hornicator.  The guy in front of me seemed a little put off by Truax’s comment “have you ever shaken hands with an unborn child?” but then he also seemed put off when Truax sang about the time he took his dog out for a picnic and the ants came and made mustaches on their faces.  The rest of the audience loved it though and by the end we were all howling at the moon with Truax and the primitive beats of Mother Superior.

The Epstein
We mingled around catching bits from each stage in anticipation of the The Epstein who were the final act in The Saloon.  You’ll notice from this blog post that The Saloon bar was my favourite stage but that’s is also because it showcased some of the best and local bands of the weekend.  That is mainly down to some great bookings by PinDrop who co-curated the stage on the Saturday.  The Saloon was now more packed than the previous night and the sweat factor was high.  As the band fought through the crowds to get their kit on stage a masked couple poured each other gin martinis with a cocktail shaker and olives for garnish.  Very impressive and a sign of the madness to come.  The Epstein have already had a great year with a number of tours in the Netherlands and recently signing with Zawinul Records.  The crowd was with them for the entire set singing along to such favourites as Calling Out Your Name and  I Held You Once; the atmosphere was euphoric.  They played songs from their new album ‘Murmrations’ and it was an incredibly tight set.  Not only that but you could see how much the band enjoyed playing together.  At the end Olly unplugged to sing Leave Your Light On and the audience gave him their full attention, eager to sing along with him and share this moment in what had been an incredible performance.  I caught the end on camera and have posted it here. So that was it.  We drank the bar dry of whisky and doesy-doed our partners until we spun out into the night.  Another great Truck Festival bites the dust.