LIVE: Truck Festival – Oxfordshire 17-18.07.15

Since its beginnings back in 1998, Truck Festival has always kept itself on top of the ever-growing list of small festivals. Tucked away on Hill Farm in Steventon, Oxfordshire, this year saw a sell-out as music fans came to enjoy the sun, music and everything else Truck has to offer.

The first act to catch our attention is Raleigh Ritchie, who brings in the punters with soulful, bouncing beats that can’t help but instigate some jumps and moves along from the crowd. The Game Of Throne actor incorporates a mix of indie, R&B, soul, pop and hip hop, proving himself to gain fans from nearly anywhere. So with the request to “dance like nobodies watching” and for everyone to join in with the “oohs” of ‘The Greatest’, he can leave Truck happy he’s grabbed himself a lot more fans.

A few acts later on the Market Stage sees Sheffield’s garage-rock Best Friends take to the stage. They have no issues in getting things going, even with the release of their debut album Hot. Reckless. Totally. Insane., just the week before. Hidden behind a layer of fuzzy goodness, old favourites ‘Wasting Time’ and ‘Happy Anniversary’ with their upbeat hooks and heavy-handed beats take no time in causing a stir. Closing with the newer and slower ‘Orange Juice’, it’s initially a more held back finale until everything kicks in for a one-way trip to garage greatness.

Always the ones for a balance of the new, old and B-sides, The Wytches bring their dark, black get-up, long hair and screeching to the manure-reeking Barn. Though seeming a bit samey with their robust, gloomy riffs coinciding with the notorious screeches from frontman Kristian Bell, tracks like ‘Robe For Juda’ still manage to get the crowd into a complete fury.

With the queue for Slaves forming as soon as Eagulls take to the stage, it’s soon clear we’re going to be in for a treat. Though sadly missing Eagulls to recover, we do (thankfully) manage to grab a spot for Slaves which would soon be envied by all the people left outside. Obviously in high demand, the punk two-piece take to their drums and guitar to tease us with the tamer, harmonising ‘Are You Satisfied’, but as soon as the acoustics get put down, there’s no going back from the venomous punk frenzy. ‘Cheer Up London’ sparks the repetitive questioning of whether we’re dead already, which by the end could have been a possibility, and even with the less cutthroat political standing ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ there’s no allowance for anything less than anarchic.

Making the wise decision to stay put in the Barn turns out to be a wise one as provocative headliners Fat White Family carry on the disorder. It’s kept a lot more family friendly than usual, with no signs of the phallic imagery or human faeces  that have made an appearance at previous Fat White shows, though this doesn’t take away from their swampy rock ‘n’ roll. Looking a bit worse for wear, no one knows what quite to expect at first but this is soon amended by the menacing and ominous likes of ‘Touch The Leather’ and ode to The Fall ‘I Am Mark E Smith’, as it’s soon made widely known the six-piece mean business. With one grope of himself in ‘Bomb Disneyland’, the London rockers bring their set to a close with a bit more grit and force put into their morbid blues.

With the sun shining as we wake for the second day of music, there’s enough time for a nice lounge around by the tent before we set off to the Truck Stage for Jake Isaac, and as soon as we reach it we met with his energetic pop rhythms. Gradually compelling those chilling on the floor to get up and groove along, his soulful vocals, complied with bouncing melodies are the best choice to begin the day.

Initiating the rowdiness of the day is Rat Boy, as from the offset things get messy as the ‘indie Twitter’ meetup in the crowd soon gets uncontrollable. With pits encircling the tent, there’s little space for a breather but with tracks like ‘Sign On’ and ‘Sportswear’, even those unsure of the sweaty chaos are soon becoming more approving of his sample-filled, mixture of hip hop, pop, grunge and everything else. But with the launch of a full-blown stage invasion, security soon aren’t fans of the Essex boy’s antics, so with a few crooked noses, word of broken bones and a passed out teen later, who even knows if he’ll be back next year.

The Market Stage seems like the place to stay as Rae Morris followed by Lucy Rose keeps the line-up on top. Morris’ sweet voice and beautiful melodies get the dancing going in the crowd to tracks like ‘Love Again’, and it’s not just them having fun as the frontwoman herself looks like she’s truly loving every minute of it. As the baton moves onto Lucy Rose, she mixes her set up with her recent album Work It Out, and 2012’s Like I Used To so there’s something for the long-haul fans and those just discovering her. ‘Our Eyes’’ jazzed up beats take the role of getting everyone moving along, whilst the acoustic nature of her older releases such as ‘Middle Of The Bed’ are responsible for the adorning of Rose as her soft vocals trap enthral the infatuated crowd in front of her.

Truck’s intimacy plays a helpful hand in making sure sets aren’t missed as even mid interview with the lovely Lucy Rose as she heads off for her signing, we can still sing and dance along to the glittery-psych tunes of Temples whilst in the queue for a quick burger. Stomping glam-rock tune ‘Keep In The Dark’ makes it sound as if they’ve brought out a resurrected Marc Bolan, whereas ‘Shelter Song’ reminisces on The Byrds with its harmonising cries and twanging riffs. Finishing the interview off in a quick walk back over to the Market Stage, it’s finally time for the legend that is Peter Hook & The Light.

Clad in a ‘I used to think New Order were the best band in the world …. But then I saw… THE LIGHT’ tshirt, the ex-Joy Division and New Order bassist takes to the stage, stirring the crowd to erupt from being in his presence. Playing all the hits from ‘Isolation’ to ‘Ceremony’, and ‘She’s Lost Control’ to ‘Blue Monday’, all the songs anyone could have asked for were there. Finishing things off with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, the emotional Joy Division track sees crowd surfers arise everywhere whilst the rest sing their hearts out along to Hook’s croons. With that finale, Truck will have made Ian Curtis proud.

Though in it’s 17th year, Truck Festival is still going strong and by the looks of this year’s offering, it can only get better.

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