The site itself is fantastic; a great atmosphere is mixed with good facilities with everything being in close proximity to everything else. It was really close to a Co-Op, but the food wasn't actually that expensive on top of that, and there was a stall selling coffee for a quid as well as a Merchandise tent that sold a huge amount of vinyl. As well as that, the weather was genuinely great and it poised Truck to be a fantastic festival.
Friday - The Bands (in a probably slightly chronological but otherwise no particular order)Friday was, for me, the most full on day of the festival. I saw an unusual amount of metal bands, and the crowd was really very up for it. Of course the show was stolen by the well selected headliners, but lots of great bands played throughout the day.
The St. Pierre Snake InvasionTSPSI were the first band I saw, taking to the Barn in the early parts of Friday afternoon. A four piece from Bristol, they mixed hard, stoner rock with full-on metalcore on a conquest to spite the landfill indie of the 00's - Razorlight and co. being particular targets. TSPSI's highlight had to be the venomous but pure Say No To Stop Motion - a heavy ode some of the greatest bands ever, demonstrating that TSPSI had a much greater cannon of influences than almost anyone I saw over the weekend. Lines that stuck and resonated were 'you should be listening to Billie Holiday', 'You should be listening to Shellac' and 'You should be listening to The Fall/You should be listening to The Fall'. I mean, how many metal bands can show a taste in music that great? The singer too, full of passion and hatred used the slots in between songs to give anyone that left the Barn the finger and to address those into 'indie shit' that didn't appreciate TSPSI. Although I'm very into my indie shit, I thought they were just fucking brilliant.
Rating - 16/20
CanterburyAgain, Canterbury are more to the metal-side of the radar than I'd normally favour, but they were pretty special. I only went to see them because my illegally-downloaded-Clashfinder times got theirs and Black Moth's sets muddled up. With the small-ish crowd in the converted cowshed knowing a lot of their lyrics, Canterbury's energy fuelled set was very well recieved, and they delivered much more than you could have expected.
Rating - 14/20
Fickle FriendsFickle Friends were a very tight five-piece, championing the South Coast for the likes of me. But whilst their sound was calculated, they sounded a bit like 50% of the other bands, in that they were sort of the missing link between The Kooks and Foals. Still, they were energetic, talented, and frontwoman Natassja Shiner had a good voice on her. They're certainly future darlings of the music press, and ones to watch for the future, probably.
Rating - 11/20
Black MothHailing, like my two favourite contemporary bands Eagulls and Hookworms, from the fantastic Leeds music scene, the stoner rock five piece known to us as Black Moth were quite possibly the best band on the entire Truck bill. Turning up later than billed, Black Moth took to The Barn at almost 5 o'clock, clad in their compulsory all-black, even if only one of the five members wasn't topless. "You're the Oxfordshire heavy contingent, right?' the frontwoman rallied, before they rattled through two polished heavy numbers. The beautifully-blood-curdling-voiced frontwoman Hazel Bevan then called for, in her simply gorgeous speaking voice, a mental mid-afternoon moshpit. But of course they were Black Moth, so unlike the previous bands in the Barn, the crowd happily obliged for the rest of the set turning the part-time cowshed into a battleground for some part-time bloodshed.
The band then careered into what is probably their finest song; the Brain Donor-come-Sabbath anthem Blackbirds Fall, showed off riffs to rival High Rise and vox that vanquish almost any other vocalist in the metal-genre. Bevan's prowess as the perfect frontwoman was on show, for not only did her otherworldly stage presence direct all the eyes in the house to herself, but her voice was a thing of sheer metallic majesty. But not only was the obvious Blackbirds Fall great, but the new numbers for their forthcoming sophomore album - Condemned to Hope - were really mesmerising, and Black Moth LP2 is a really quite exciting prospect. But of course, you can't forget the rest of the set, which was made up of their quite possibly perfect debut album; The Killing Jar; the LP that announced the presence of The Moth to the world way back when in 2012. So, quite naturally the Truck set was elegantly crafted to perfection, and from the murky beginnings to the energetic endings, Black Moth stunned.
Rating - 20/20
Catfish and the BottlemenStumbling amply out of the greatest set of the weekend, I took a walk to the main stage to see NME's buzziest buzz band; Catfish and the Bottlemen. Not really knowing what to expect, I wandered towards the Main Stage to see Catfish and his Bottlemen entertain the crowd. I've been told time and time again that their music is supposed to be the next big thing, and although Sidewinder was quite catchy when it came out, I've really not understood the hype around the band. Catfish are by no means terrible; their music isn't dire; it's just faceless, dull and inoffensive. Which might be worse. They are, to put it bluntly, the missing link between 2013's AM and Coldplay. The frontman, Van McCann (is that his real name? If I was choosing my name it wouldn't be that bland. He sounds like a member of Spinal Tap V2.0) took centre stage, and the backing group kind of stood in the shadows, unnoticed. However, unlike when Echo & the Bunnymen and such bands adopt similar stage presence policies, Catfish and the Bottlemen's 'Catfish' lacked the charisma needed to be such a figure. Whilst the crowd really dug them, I couldn't quite hack their middle-of-the-road indie pop, and the prospect of everyone raving about them and their album later this year is genuinely terrible.
Rating - 8/20
Rating - 19/20
The CribsWhilst making a band The Cribs' size headline was an absolute no-brainer, The Cribs' rattled through a whole host of their biggest and best songs. Just as they go about their career, they started their set in a suitably low-key manner. They just walked out, and played the songs without making that big a deal of it. With a set heavily built up on Men's Needs... The Cribs' hour long set sounded pretty fantastic. They were extremely tight, and with the help of a shadowy second guitarist they sounded strong - Another Number and Come on Be A No One were two of the weekend's highlights. HOWEVER, Be Safe played live wasn't to be the expected out-of-body interstellar experience, because the sound guys seemed to have cocked up the monologue so that it couldn't be heard over the crowd. But to make up for that, Men's Needs was every bit as great as expected as the band gave it a lengthy instrumental prologue. Whilst they lacked the headliner-status stage presence, hardly speaking between songs, their sound and their songs made the Cribs arguably the best headliners of the two.
Rating - 16/20
Saturday - The Bands (in the same "I think it was that order but I don't know" kind of chronology)
I didn't start on bands that I knew who they were til mid-afternoon on Saturday, and it was a day awash more with indie than anything else. As well as the mentioned bands, I saw a bloke do a really stunning Neil Young cover, Woahnows sounding pretty great and experienced a rave. Saturday was mabye as great as Friday.
Rating - 16/20
DarliaDarlia are another NME hype band that I thought weren't really up to much. With their look-how-Nirvana-we-are hairstyles and their tacky EP covers, I thought they weren't really up to much at all. But live, oh boy! They were on another plain to their studio stuff; charged with energy, hormones, and lager they hammered through a solid set to a Market Stage tent that was overflowing. Their energetic set, powered by their Nirvana-isms and their 80's college rock tinged indie sound, Darlia's amateurish lyrics were outweighed by the gusto with which they were belted out to a surprisingly huge crowd!
Rating - 15/20
Swim DeepLike Superfood, I've seen Swim Deep a handful of times, and each time they've been the same; they've sung good songs badly, or good songs wasted, or something like that. At Truck, they did exactly the same but to an even more polarized extent; whilst Honey is one of the best pop songs of the last few years, it sounded weaker than Tesco's own brand cider here. It all just blended into one shallow wishy washy sound, like a cup of tea with too much milk in. Their summery sound did translate well, but poorly executed vocals and all that lark made them seem unprofessional and tacky. Unlike Superfood, they seemed very much a band in Peace's shadow, riding on the success of the four piece, and even dressing like a cheap rip-off. Still, King City sounded pretty good, and the crowd made it an alright thirty minutes.
Rating - 4/20
In an earlier post, I interviewed Gang of Four's only original member, Andy Gill HERE.
Rating - 18/20
White LiesI was really quite cynical about the choice of White Lies as headliners, I mean I'd not listened to them much, but they seemed very much on the Bombay Cinema Club side of indie rock. But boy oh boy, with more passion than a Shakespeare soliloquy and choruses that you could sing on the second time round, White Lies were pretty brilliant on the Sunday night. Whilst they're not my thing at all, like quite a few of the bands on this list, White Lies were so completely mesmerising, and moving. I'm not nauseating enough to say they 'killed it', but BOY they were fantastic. They embraced the headliner slot unlike the Cribs, and whilst their songs probably weren't as strong they were really a great choice to headline.
Rating - 17/20
The Top Five
1. Black Moth (20/20)
2. Peace (19/20)
3. Gang of Four (18/20)
4. White Lies (17/20)
5. The Cribs (16/20)
= The St. Pierre Snake Invasion (16/20)
= Superfood (16/20)
(WRITTEN BY CALUM CASHIN)
Photography credit goes to James Polley Photography