LIVE: Truck Festival 2022

After a painful double-cancellation during the pandemic years, 2022 marked a triumphant, sold-out return for Truck Festival. The sun shone the weekend through, football shirts reigned supreme (personal favourites being SOFY’s vintage Leicester away strip and an anonymous festival-goer’s Watford away shirt with ‘ACID, 7’ on the back), and of course, a cross-section of the nation’s favourite indie acts shared stages with some exciting up-and-comers and a few unexpected additions to the bill.

One of the first things that became apparent upon arrival, as raised by a number of performers, was Truck’s reputation as the home of the improbable mosh pit. The festival is defined by that particular brand of indie rock that lends itself to such a response – and it occurred to me as people hopped about to Loose Articles and then Oscar Lang, Siggy Brew cans flinging across the air – that this is really the perfect music for the British festival, itself defined by the beautiful dirtiness and community epitomised by the mosh. I was witness to some genuinely baffling pits over the course of the weekend; the award for the most inappropriate going to the Oxford Symphony Orchestra during their rendition of the Back To The Future suite.

Though the headline slots were dominated by male performers, it was mainly female-driven sets that provided my highlights for the weekend. Deep Tan played perhaps the best set I have seen from them – their usual no-chords-and-the-truth sound possessing a greater urgency and vivacity, sharpened by a year’s hard gigging and the sound at the So Young curated Market Stage. On the main stage, Kelis lived up to her legendary status, with a set front-loaded with the classic ‘Milkshake’ that progressed through an unpredictable 40-minute party that also included versions of ‘Bounce’ and ‘I Feel Love’, as well as a crowd singalong of ‘Happy Birthday’ for her son, who she brought on stage before the last song. 

Elsewhere, Lime Garden got the crowd moving from Saturday morning; lead singer Chloe Howard noting it had to be ‘the earliest I’ve ever played’. ‘Clockwork’ in particular smacked into a palpably strutting groove that would have been impossible to resist at any hour. On the same stage, Just Mustard groaned with apocalyptic intensity, the paired guitars bending a cavernous twisting pulse that blasted away at us. 

The pick of the headliners had to be Bombay Bicycle Club, who offer – alongside stomping, mosh-worthy riffs – a wonderful expansion on the format of indie four-piece complete with horn section and the vocal contributions of Saint Clair. Though their appeal was rooted in the indulgence of the tastes of my fourteen year old self, it was genuinely nice to see them playing live again. The sudden creation of a crowd of giants as Jack Steadman invited the audience to get on each others’ shoulders during ‘Carry Me’ was particularly atmospheric, if slightly offset by the slapstick failure of two people stood in front of me to achieve this pose.

After hours at Truck also saw a good time being had. Running until 2am with a choice of a silent disco and not one, but two, ‘indie bangers’ parties each night at different stages up against more traditionally dancey DJs in the Market Stage tent. Many of the weekend’s memorable moments came at this hour, the pick being the simultaneity of the sight of an individual staggering around in his own world (or at least not of this one), Newcastle shirt aloft, presumably babbling his love for Sam Fender, while we were regaled by a pair of young women explaining how they had spent their weekend ‘reverse catcalling’ men from their pathside tent. Saturday night at one of the indie rock dance tents was good fun, though I troublingly cannot recall any women artists included on the playlist, and found myself, in a brief wave of sobriety, wondering exactly which wave of feminism ‘Fit But You Know It’ spoke to.

If you are looking for a beery indie rock party, Truck is surely the festival for you. Less sprawling and destructive than Reading – and with an easily navigable site – you can catch some old favourites among a selection of the next batch of guitar hit-makers before partying into the not-excessively-small hours. And if that were not enough, there is even the prospect of moshing to a 30-piece orchestra…

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, make sure you nab tickets for next year’s 2023 festival! Super Early Bird tickets will be available from this Friday, 29th July, at 12pm.

Lloyd Bolton
@lloyd_bolton

Photo Credit: Caitlin Mogridge

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Shacklewell Arms w/ ARXX, 22.07.22

For our second gig of the month, following our emotional farewell to DIY pioneers Charmpit a few weeks ago, we returned to The Shacklewell Arms to host long-term faves ARXX! Support came from incredible up-and-coming duo Fräulein and fierce new band Lusa Morena. It was truly an honour to host three such exciting bands – it was such a beautiful night filled with not only immense music blasting from the stage, but all the nicest vibes and loveliest people. And to sell out the night was a dream come true – we’ve raised another £300 for vital organisation Abortion Support Network, so huge thanks to all who came along!

I’m struggling to put into words just how wonderful the night was, but I’ve written a few sentences to accompany some fab photos, courtesy of Harry Levin…

Opening the night is Portuguese, London-based band Lusa Morena. Blasting out an immense, swirling energy as impressive relentless riffs roll out alongside front woman Bárbara’s immersive charisma, they cement themselves as definite ones to watch.

Next up, one of the most exciting bands around – duo Joni and Karsten, aka Fräulein – deliver an utterly impressive set. Having headlined for us at The Victoria back in January, it’s wonderful to have them play for us again delivering their gritty grunge-fuelled anthems. I’ve seen Fräulein live a few times now, and each time is even more incredible than the last – as Karsten’s frenzied pummelling beats accompany Joni’s raw, impassioned vocals and swirling hooks, they really are a truly unique, captivating force to be reckoned with. It’s also particularly lovely to have them on the same bill as ARXX, as I first fell in love with them a couple of years back at an online festival that Hanni curated.

To top off the dreamiest of line-ups, total long-term faves ARXX take to the stage to Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’. And then Hanni and Clara blast into our eyes and ears with that perfect balance of raucous energy and joyous charm that we’ve come to know and love over the years. As they treat us to an eclectic set, offering some of their more poppy recent releases alongside the grungey edge of some of their older songs, they fill The Shacklewell Arms with a euphoric sea of admiring fans – smiling and singing along in blissful unity. New or old, each track is delivered with the duo’s trademark colossal anthemic musicality as the sassy allure of Hanni’s vocals soar over immense catchy hooks and Clara’s buoyant beats and witty between-song chat. With all the colourful, empowering vivacity that you could ever hope for, ARXX once again prove themselves to be a band consistently honing and developing their sound to create the freshest, most addictive of tunes. Impossible to pigeonhole into one genre, they continue to impress with everything they do (including the surprise ‘Sk8r Boi’ cover with special guest vocalist Beth White!), and remain truly one of the most exciting – and completely lovely – bands I’ve ever come across. It’s such an honour to host them at one of our nights again that I notice silly little tears (of joy and pride) trickling down my cheeks as the set draws to a close.

Massive thanks again to the three AMAZING bands who played for us on Friday, to all at The Shacklewell Arms and to everyone who came along and sold out the night, raising £300 for Abortion Support Network. A really special night!
Next month we have another two gigs in store for you: 12th August at The Victoria with Manchester band Nikki & The Waves, First Frontier and Panic Pocket – tickets here, and 20th August at The Cavendish Arms with Australian duo Mannequin Death Squad, Maya Lakhani and Dogviolet – tickets here!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Harry Levin / @harrywlevin

LIVE (Photos): Slagheap @ The Victoria, 24.06.22

On Friday, we were back at The Victoria in Dalston with a very lovely line-up. Slagheap, Nervous Twitch and The Famous Daxx treated us to a fun-filled few hours of live music. Huge thanks to them all, and to the lovely folk who came out to support them!

Opening the night, The Famous Daxx treat us to their swirling, emotion-filled offerings, each delivered with an immersive, spellbinding allure.

Next up, Leeds trio Nervous Twitch deliver their retro rockabilly riffs with an infectious surf-pop musicality and colourful, uplifting groove.

Headlining the night, Bristol band Slagheap fill the venue with their quirky, vibrant charisma and jangly post-punk fuzz. Oozing an infectious joyous energy, they deliver each offering with a shimmering playful spirit and cheeky tongue-in-cheek wit.

Massive thanks to the glorious three bands who played for us on Friday!
We’re now super excited that coming up in July, have not one but two incredible nights of live music in store for you: 8th July at Sebright Arms we have Charmpit’s last ever London show, with support from Bitch Hunt and adults – tickets here. And 22nd July we’re back at Shacklewell Arms with total faves ARXX, plus Fraulein and Lusa Morena – tickets here. Tickets for both are selling super fast, so I advise nabbing yours asap!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Neil Anderson / @wildblanketphotography

LIVE: Lunar Vacation @ Moth Club, 11.05.2022

Having been completely addicted to last year’s debut album from Lunar Vacation – listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last six months – I was excited to finally see the Atlanta-based band live at Moth Club last Wednesday.

The night opens with the shimmering, uplifting grace of German band Roller Derby, and – as they treat the crowd to a mesmerising cover from their “favourite UK band”, I shimmy along to ‘Friday, I’m In Love’, and come to the realisation that I may have just discovered my new favourite band.

After introducing themselves – explaining that they had to get the ‘Chunnel’ to come over to the UK – Lunar Vacation begin their set with the blissful tones of ‘Peddler’, instantly captivating the crowd of adoring fans, as an endearing sense of excitement and joy radiates throughout the sparkling interior of Moth Club. Following the jangly musicality and swirling surf-pop energy of ‘The Basement’, Lunar Vacation ask “someone they met earlier today” to join them on stage – and so we’re introduced to Ella, a mega fan who seems to have learnt ‘Unlucky’ note-for-note and seems completely at ease joining the band on guitar for the entirety of the track’s twinkling romanticism.

Discussing the title of their album, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp, front person Grace explains that it is indeed a true fact – despite being a fruit, figs are not vegan, due to the amount of dead wasps you may accidentally come across when eating them. So, no more figs for me… Continuing to charm the crowd with both insightful knowledge and a dreamy musicality, the band ease into ‘Where Is Everyone?’ and ‘Mold’, flowing into each song with their trademark lilting hooks and stirring, sparkling emotion.

As Grace’s luscious crystalline vocals ripple alongside the cinematic instrumentation, I notice someone in the crowd literally do a little jump for joy… And it’s poignant just what a truly joyous atmosphere has been created. The front couple of rows are pretty much entirely made up of smiling femmes and queers; all swaying along, beaming, singing along to each and every word of Lunar Vacation’s glistening offerings. The kind of euphoric sense of unity I hope to create at the gigs I host for Get In Her Ears.

Following the gentle ethereal splendour of ‘No Offerings’, guitarist Maggie continues the endearing witty banter, revealing that Grace has always wished she was British, and was hoping that Alex Turner may have made an appearance tonight…

As the sweeping, mystical allure of tracks such as ‘Anna’ and ‘Gears’ floats through the venue with an exquisite heartfelt charm, I remain utterly immersed in Lunar Vacation’s knack for perfectly fusing together a beautiful, stirring melancholy with an uplifting, rapturous energy.

As the set draws to a close, the disappointment doesn’t last long as the band sneakily reappear a moment later to treat us to a little encore and – as the whimsical majesty of ‘Swimming’ glides into our ears – I’m left feeling utterly elated. Any worries or stresses I may have had on arriving at Moth Club tonight have floated away on the truly dreamy, radiant grace and heartwarming sense of unity that Lunar Vacation have created.


Mari Lane
@marimindles