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Review: Truck Fest 2016

Truck 2016 was blessed with the perfect combination of luscious weather and scintillating bands, ensuring the sold out festival lived up to its sparkling reputation.

Friday

Following the soulful musings of Willie J Healey and Hooton Tennis Club’s leisurely indie-rock, The Magic Gang took to The Market Stage. All smiles, the Brighton based four piece were playing Truck for the second year running. The tent was brimming with fans, who proceeded to echo back every word of the boys’ slender back catalogue. Looking like a group of friends who couldn’t quite believe their success, Jack and co embraced the euphoria, closing their set with an extended performance of ‘No Fun’; the irony wasn’t lost on the crowd.

Badger favourites Clean Cut Kid lit up The Truck Stage with their infectious good feeling, dropping summer sound-tracking ‘Vitamin C’ and showing exactly why they’ve made so many friends on tour.

Yet the day belonged to old school hip hop pioneers Jurassic 5, who won over a new generation of fans whilst delighting their wide-eyed faithful. Transforming their music into a true spectacle, DJs Nu Mark and Cut Chemist mixed on giant decks, as Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na nailed every verse, coming together for a tongue in cheek choreographed dance. In such uncertain times, their message of peace and freedom has never been more needed.

SOAK provided an intellectual alternative to Catfish and the Bottlemen’s by-the-numbers indie on The Market Stage, Bridie Monds-Watson and her band entrancing the disappointingly sparse crowd; Catfish clearly attracting the majority of Truck’s youthful demographic.

Saturday

Saturday began in true Truck style with the energy of Mr Motivator, exuberantly stretching away those long nights. Next up, a trip to the Veterans and Virgins to catch Hull based The Holy Orders. With roaring guitars and crunching riffs, they recall indie rock’s finest era; album ‘For The Ears of Dogs to Come’ is well worth a listen.

The Big Moon have been 2016’s greatest breakout story, and they demonstrated why on The Truck Stage. Calm, confident, perpetually laughing, they looked at complete ease. Throwing in a sublime cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’ among their own tunes, The Big Moon were there to have fun; catching their Tortoise Autumn tour is a must. Elsewhere, Public Access T.V bought some American chic to The Nest, rattling through songs from their eponymous EP, yet strangely deciding not to air new single ‘Sudden Emotion’.

Spector followed, with what can only be described as a career defining set. Opening with ‘Bad Boyfriend’ the London lads exuded class; Fred Macpherson the archetype of sophistication in his white suit and shades. Fan favourites ‘Chevy Thunder’ and ‘Never Fade Away’ made their inevitably crazed appearances, and latest release ‘Tenner’s’ sleazy bassline got the crowd swaying, complete with keyboardist Danny Blandy playing along via Skype. Closing with the anthemic ‘All The Sad Young Men’, Spector flamboyantly spun the perfect festival set.

Rat Boy brought his typical swagger to The Truck Stage, conducting the crowd with riotous relish. Loop heavy recent release ‘Get Over It’ sounded even better live, while ‘MOVE’ did just that, getting the mosh pits thoroughly ignited. ‘FAKE ID’ was the fitting set closer, a frenzied ode to youthful debauchery that left everyone humming the chorus as they drifted away. But Rat Boy wasn’t done quite yet. Returning to the stage, his band mimicked classic riffs – ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ among them – much to the displeasure of security. Hauled off stage as he laid waste to the drum kit, Rat Boy cemented his infamous reputation as Britain’s most exhausting live act.

Swim Deep hit all the right spots during their evening slot at The Market stage, with frontman Austin Williams clambering up the light fittings during the exquisite ‘Fueiho Boogie’. The emotive chimes of ‘King City’ marked the end of their set, a band that has gone from strength to strength since they last played Truck two years ago.

Manic Street Preachers closed a fantastic day of live music on the main stage, their cult hero status enshrined in front of a packed out crowd.

Sunday

Sunday began in smoky style with Band App winners Caspian’s Island. Almost astonished by their own presence at the festival, their electronic uproar won over the impressively large contingent of early onlookers. Beach Baby’s laidback romance was excellent foil for the gorgeous weather, and with an album and tour announced for this fall, the yearning rockers look to be going places.

Abattoir Blues’ blistering set was followed by the politically astute rock of VANT. Front man Mattie Vant was the furious articulation of a betrayed generation: “we all needed this” he told the packed out Nest, thanking the crowd for proudly waving an EU flag.

Everything Everything’s angular electro-pop was rapturously received on the Truck Stage, and Mystery Jets bought the festival to an emotional close with a career spanning set, ‘Two Doors Down’ sparking the biggest sing-along of the weekend.

Thanks for having us Truck, we’ll see ya soon.

 

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