Review: TRUCK Festival 2016

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Losing my festival virginity at Truck was possibly one of the best ways to go. With a faultless line up and a not so cloudy weekend ahead, I headed to Truck with lots of good intentions to remember lyrics and far too little sun cream.

Friday

The Main Stage was where everything was happening on the first night, and before the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, we satisfied ourselves with the quietly contemplative chill of Ady Suleiman. He worked through much of his EP and was soon appreciated as more than just a warm up for the main event. His set was the unequivocal calm before the storm, and it was much appreciated, with mellow vocals to warm the soul that would surely need kindling before the night was out.

Liverpool Indie getup Clean Cut Kid featured not long after, last spotted in Southampton in the enclosed and pulsing pastures of The Joiners. They similarly played their most successful debut tracks such as Pick Me Up, as well as their newest single, We Used to be In Love. Not as beautiful or powerful as Jean (which was written for singer Mike Hall’s grandfather after the death of his wife, making the song all the more poignant), We Used To Be In Love is another good addition to the band’s repertoire, if not an entirely upbeat one.

Catfish and the Bottlemen crowds were heaving; they earned every fan that appeared both above and below shoulder height, and proved their prowess on stage and the reason behind their radical rise to fame. Playing from both the old and the new albums, and finishing with the traditional Tyrants, they ended the first night on a high.

Saturday

So despicably and enviously cool that I wanted to run from the crowd and hide myself in the nearest tent, Samm Henshaw on the Market Stage was a shameful afternoon delight to add to my festival v-card. Despite my feeling towards his drift toward the mundane with newly released Sound Experiment 2 (find George Seabrook’s hit-the-nail-on-the-head review here), the band nailed the entire set, drawing relatively equally from both EPs. Samm is one of those performers who you truly appreciate when seen live collaborating with a group of madly skilled people in a symbiosis of sound. He was as good ‘unplugged’ with I Only Wanna Be With You as he was with hit Autonomy (Slave), and even his new numbers Our Love and Chances rose from obscurity when witnessed in person. Maybe the level of coolness was slowly sapped by the endearing gentle crowd hum that Samm encouraged with the motif from Chances, and the side step and clap that accompanied another song; although it felt like we were a pure reflection of Samm dancing on stage with his ever so cool band members, I highly doubted it.

Heading back over to the Main Stage, Sundara Karma worked through much of their back catalogue of singles, including personal highlights Flame and Vivienne. They had a great stage presence, replacing the heaviness and intensity of the first night’s proceedings and making way for the light and breezy tones of Circa Waves, who infected everyone with their by-the-beach vibes, even if you had only ever gotten as far as T-Shirt Weather.

Sunday

With a voice a little more gravelly than usual, Jack Savoretti was a calming yet slightly underwhelming event on the Main Stage. Undoubtedly a beautiful set, he lacked in a little to and fro with the crowds, reducing him to a rather silent partner in a strictly musical exchange.

Everything Everything and Kodaline more than made up for any earlier blunder, and well and truly turned the last night into the best. Climatic and heady, the atmosphere was just the right mixture of happy and sad, with the festival blues already encroaching when Kodaline finished the end of their set and stragglers hung on to greedily dance away to any song they would blast out of the Main Stage speakers. As yet an Everything Everything amateur, all the songs were a fantastic and satisfying blur, except for more well known tunes Regret and Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread. Kodaline similarly smashed it, with highlights Honest and ever popular Love Like This, accompanied by plenty of hugging, kissing, and everything else in between.

A great festival with a who’s who in indie acts, although they’re obviously too indie to be involved in a game as mainstream as that. Watch the official video for Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread by Everything Everything below.

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