Truck Festival 2019: review, what we learned and 9 best bands from Oxford

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Foals headline heroically at their hometown festival – credit: Truck Festival 

Vrooom vrooom! GetintothisWill Whitby travelled to Truck Festival to witness a weekend of escapist indie paradise. 

Truck Festival‘s 21st birthday was celebrated in style as this year saw big headliners from Foals, Two Door Cinema Club and Wolf Alice.

They had the backing of stellar up-and-coming and established acts filled a packed bill below, featuring Swimming Girls, Public Service Broadcasting, You Me At Six, Johnny Marr and much more. 

As the UK’s hottest day enveloped the country in a heatwave the prospect of travelling 6 hours via 2 trains and a coach to Oxford seemed daunting.

But with the prospect of a festival on the horizon, the Megabus awaited and arrival was in sight. 

As the heat grew and grew throughout Friday, Liverpool’s favourite indie-pop poster-boys, Spinn brought the noise as The Nest Stage was packed out and then some for their pure sunshine music.

Moving through tracks off their debut self-titled album the bad scouse accents bouncing around the crowd turned into cheers as their infectious indie-pop got the spirits up.

Front man Johnny Quinn gyrated across stage donning a yellow “Still Hate Thatcher” tee prompting plenty of “Fuck Boris” shouts from the crowd – a running trend of the weekend. 

The sun had firmly got its hat on as Spinn smashed the sunny afternoon festival party slot with Something That I Missed, Who You Are and After Dark helping the crowd sink the dark fruit. 

Son of a Dr Who and Noel Gallagher’s favourite Scotsmen, Lewis Capaldi was up next as the UK’s biggest debut chart success of the year packed out the mainstage.

A persona that plays up to the meme generation is married with Radio 2 classics to make your mum cry, his debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (yes, that’s its actual name) went platinum earlier this year.

Credit: Festival Facebook

Credit: Festival Facebook

With big singalongs for Grace and Someone You Loved and a blasting entrance to WWE classic Here Come’s The Money, Capaldi may divide opinion but his brand of inoffensive pop belters brought the crowds for a rather joyous affair 

Public Service Broadcasting headlined the second stage on the Friday, much to the delight of the 6 Music dads and the eager younger crowd looking to expel some energy to 1940s radio monologues. 

Visually awesome with backdrops of public service footage the sounds that accompanied it were equally amazing.

The group defy genre, they cannot be labelled as the show span electro, pop, pos-rock, dance, rock, jazz and so much more.

Sometimes they have an electro feel of LCD Soundsystem, others they go all mellow like Sigur Ros then they’ll surprise you with an 80s pop Duran Duran-esque track with a guitar solo that Kasabian would be proud of. Individually they immense musicians but together they’re an artistic force.

Public Service Broadcasting talk Liverpool, the Welsh mining industry and James Dean Bradfield

Anthemic tracks like Everest make the hairs on your neck stand up as it reminds you what makes you human- a lot of emotions and epiphanies are had at PSB shows. 

With a finale complete with dancing astronauts no doubt they fuelled talks of conspiracies, surveillance and Trump vs Russia as the fans returned into their camps and the night. 

 

Friday’s big headline slot came from London favourites Wolf Alice as Don’t Delete The Kisses, Moaning Lisa Smile and Beautifully Unconventional turned it up to 11 and brought nu-shoe gaze to the masses as they completed their first time headlining the festival. 

As debut single Bros echoed around the camps, the fields and the crowds the political, social and environmental turmoil everyone faced on the outside was all forgotten.

You’re at a festival, what would be better?

Turn your phone off, sing some songs, dance like no one cares and enjoy yourself. 

But first, rejoice, it started to rain.

Saturday arrived and as the cooling night-time rain subsided, Truck Fest day 2 came to life.

As word spread through social media about Truck’s sister festival’s Y NOT and Kendal Calling getting washed out by biblical rain, everyone down south felt glad the sun was on their side for the weekend.

The Oxford Symphony Orchestra opened then mainstage as mosh pits arose- even to Pachelbel’s Canon. 

Getintothis ventured further to the Nest Stage the home to “all things loud” at Truck – a frequent haunt for this writer over the weekend. Milk Teeth were up next.

The Gloucestershire punk rockers were a man down as drummer Oli Holbrook was unable to make the show due to an emergency – “Let’s pretend this is MTV Unplugged” joked lead singer Becky Blomfield.

 

The crowd were not deterred as the rhythm section was completed by the eager tent clapping along- usually quite out of time. 

The trio only has one album out in 2016’s Vile Child released on Hopeless Records but they have developed a solid fanbase for big choruses, catchy lyrics and pit anthems while touring rigorously around the country.

Guitarist Em Foster announced the big news that the band had signed to major label bigwigs Sony Records “big up the corporate punks” he joked: “we’re not selling out buying in.”  

The crowd were appreciative of the new look semi-acoustic set of the show and the band were very warming: “we thought you lot in Oxford just fucked dead pigs and lit up £50 notes” cautiously said, Foster

“But making broad generalisations about people from places is what the Prime Minister does” as a wave of boos and “Fuck Boris” shouts followed. 

The guitars got turned back up to 11 and the drums returned as Getintothis favourites Psychedelic Porn Crumpets were up next.

Fresh from releasing album number three And Now For The Whatchamacallit on Marathon Artists the crowd grew in the tent and then out of the tent and then over the hill past the bar and the bogs- we’re ready for something special here. 

Then kaboom! A mosh-pit dominated the tent as eager fans, dads, lads, girls, mums and people dressed as pickles turned the tent into an incomparable wall of positive energy.

Playing through tracks from High Visceral Pt 1 & 2 the Aussies confirmed that they are no doubt one of the hottest artists in the world right now. 

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets talk intergalactic influences and cardboard dinners

Psych-Dancefloor bangers Cornflake, Found God In A Tomato and Cubensis Lenses brought an air of big riffs, big sounds and big crowds as the heat got the crowd warmer and warmer. But then zap- power off. 

The size of the mosh pit had become too dangerous for the show to continue. From a safety point of view, it was understandable, but that didn’t stop the boos.

The poor sound man being subjected to calls of “why?” and “just turn it back on again.”

Mass calls of one more song were greeted seemingly to nothing as crowds began to gather by fence adjacent to backstage suggesting just to play from there. 

It didn’t turn ugly, everyone was too happy and energised for anything malicious to happen.

But then, the calls for another song were answered as the band returned to the stage to cause more carnage – the resultant stampede back to the tent *probably* more dangerous than the original mosh-pit. 

If you still haven’t listened to Psychedelic Porn Crumpets put your daft judgements on their name to one side and indulge in one of psychedelia’s brightest prospects. 

Parched and warn out we venture to find food and drink. Truck Fest had an ample array of festival food and drink on offer as we treated ourselves to tacos, risotto and even Indian over the weekend.

But you simply can’t beat chips, peas and gravy from MyPie and a pint of the Four Pint Brewery’s Easy Peeler citrus IPA.

A lovely gesture was the charity food hall also within the fields. A large marquee selling salads, mac and cheese, steak sandwiches, a wide variety of vegan cuisine.

All ran by local charities as hungry festival-goers could give back to the community whilst tucking into some much-needed sustenance. 

Johnny Marr reduces prices for younger gig goers – are age brackets the future of ticketing?

Johnny Marr was up next on the mainstage for a set packed with talent but one that sadly didn’t wash into the crowd as much as he probably would have hoped. 

Playing tracks off his solo efforts Playland and The Messenger the crowd creatively reinvented Easy Money’s chorus to a “fuck Morrissey chant.

Up on the scoreboard, Getintothis counted Fuck Boris 36 Fuck Morrissey 1.

But Marr expertly playing his illustrious blue Fender Jag was enough for this writer, it, unfortunately, didn’t seem to be enough for the crowd.

They just wanted a half-hour set of Smiths Karaoke only perking up and erupting when Marr succeeded at his best Morrissey impression.

Playing Bigmouth Strikes Again and How Soon Is Now the legacy of The Smiths couldn’t be understated but the professionalism of Johnny Marr was seemingly sadly overlooked.

This Charming Man was a joyous affair as There Is A Light got everyone up on the shoulders and the flares going for a big festival wide singalong.

Foals headline at Truck Festival – credit Truck Festival Facebook page

We’re here. Its arrived. The time is now. Foals’ Oxford homecoming was upon us seemingly the entire festival descended onto the main stage. 

Foals really have come a long way. Since the release of their debut Antidotes in 2008, the band has seen off and lived through every cliche wave of indie rock in the UK in the past decade.

Never dipping their toes in their lacklustre indie twee riffs trying to get on an episode of Hollyoaks in 2010 while singing about girls down the pub.

Foals have created and formulated an intelligent indulging sound which grows and evolves with every listen of every album.

How the boys aren’t headlining Glastonbury is beyond me as they show all the hallmarks for a bonafide Pyramid topper. 

Releasing Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt 1 earlier this year fans were treated to some of the first opportunities to watch tracks live before part 2 comes out in October. 

Opening with the cowbell loving On The Luna the shapes began to flow from both Yannis Philippakis on stage and across the crowd.

A mixed career-spanning set from the Oxford boys follows as the crowd was treated to tracks from all five of their albums. 

Foals: Top 10 tracks from a totally distinctive band

Olympic Airways & Mountain At My Gates came next as anyone who didn’t move for On The Luna were now stuck in a trance-like state of euphoria as Foals blasted through their biggest hits completely with confetti on the final chorus. 

Now then, now then… Is there a better track released this year then In Degrees

As the sunset over the Oxfordshire countryside, the pulsating bassline penetrated every entity with a mile radius as vivacious rhythms overcome and conquered all notions of reality. A real dance like no one is watching classic. 

Credit: Festival Facebook

Sunset visuals washed over the crowd as the summer night turned to twilight as the lush anthemic Spanish Sahara dropped into energetic Inhaler and What Went Down as large choruses evolved into larger spaces. Madness.

Finishing the set with their earliest hit Two Steps, Twice the band reminded us why Foals are so timeless and massive as acute riffs met with cheers and flourishing beats to empty the last of the energy into the night. 

Tonight was Foals’ night and they delivered. Get Eavis on the phone and get them headlining Glasto

Sunday arrived and the festival holiday freedom had firmly arrived as one longed for the weekend not to end.

With a climate crisis and the political world falling apart beyond the guard fences, festivals serve as a freedom, an escape, a paradise to forget all the wrong in the world and just enjoy yourself. 

And what better way to enjoy yourself than Birkenhead’s finest Zuzu who brought the happiest crowd of the weekend to The Market Stage.

Zuzu’s addictive lyrics and big choruses filled the  afternoon party slot better than anyone during the weekend. 

Zuzu dished out the hooks with infectious big singalong choruses in Beauty Queen and Can’t Be Alone, cosmic guitar-pop melodies on All Good and an unashamedly Scouse twang in How It Feels. Plus a new look at fresh single Money Back. 

 

Zuzu continued the trend of all the Liverpool bands during the weekend bringing big crowds to big applause. Red Rum Club smashed the This Feeling stage, Clean Cut Kid and She Drew The Gun perked it up on the mainstage and Zuzu and Spinn flew the flag for emerging young talent from Merseyside. Boss that. 

As the hangovers subsided the Sunday afternoon moods continued as Dirty Hit’s The Japanese House firmly relaxed the main stage before Sea Girls came on a livened it back up again. 

One of indies hottest new acts the London foursome came out in all red as their addictive indie licks and big choruses shook the cobwebs from any casualty from the night before.

Tracks like All I Want To Hear You Say and Closer spell out big things for the boys as they come to Liverpool in October

The Fuck-Boris-Ometer hit fever pitch status as You Me At Six were up next. Usually, indie festivals like Truck and YNOT pay homage to the UK’s raft of quality emo and pop-punk talent but as the scene plateaus, there was very little on offer for those of an angstier persuasion. 

The Essex lads have seen a decade long career at the peak of UK Pop Punk as the skate anthems of Take Of Your Colours have evolved into matured, Radio 1 loving, stadium rock crowd-pleasers in last year’s VI

Sinners Never Sleep hit No One Does It Better got the kids on the shoulders as the emotional ballad qued a mammoth singalong. Raucous single Straight To Your Head and Room To Breathe erupted several mosh pits all to frontman Josh Franceschi’s joy. 

Tuck Festival Facebook

Exhausted, overjoyed and longing for Monday never to arrive, Two Door Cinema Club closed the weekend. 

The definitive quirky indie-pop head honchos of the past decade were a perfect ending to a joyous weekend of music.

Evolving and growing with every album,  2010’s modern classic Tourist History shone bright as catchy and cheeky guitar licks filled the air with Undercover Martyn, I Can Talk and Do You Want It All. 

The trio released a new album in False Alarm via PIAS at the tail end of last month but only chose to play a select trio from the fresh album.

Playing into the palm of the fans by only playing the well-known hits pleased everyone in attendance.

A personal highlight of the festival in This Is The Life peaked the set as the perfect paradise singalong track created a joyous atmosphere as Truck slowed down and came to park for another year – this really is the life. 

As Truck Festival came to an end for another year and the shuttle bus queue stretched as far as the eye could see, normality was unfortunately resumed. The earth is still dying, Boris is still in charge and Britain is miserable. 

But for a few weekends in the summer the truest of British traditions is paramount. Nothing will beat escaping to a field with good people, for good music to have a good time.

Indie may be criticised for negative attitudes but one thing is for sure, a field full of indie kids know how to have a fun time. Impending global climate disaster and political meltdown say who?

Same time next year Truck Festival, pick me up on the way back round. 

Foals

The nine best artists and bands of Truck Festival 2019

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets  The Nest, Saturday 

Undoubtedly one of the hottest bands in the world right now, their raucous show nearly brought outright pandemonium to Truck. 

Massive psych-dance floor guitars with pulsating, full-frontal, no-holds-barred riffs concoct a near-lethal tonic of extraordinary energy with cosmic melodies. 

Don’t sleep on these Aussie demons.

Swimming Girls: Market Stage, Sunday

A set of dreamy festival escapism at its best with the Bristol alt-poppers with the brilliant stage presence of singer- Vanessa Gimenez.

With poetic lyricism akin to The Cure and The 1975 the band captivated the crowd amongst the Sunday hangover slot upon the Market Stage. 

Check out their debut single Tastes Like Money to dive into the world of Swimming Girls.

Spinn


Spinn: The Nest, Friday

For a band which has such a passionate fanbase in Liverpool to pack out stage at a festival in Oxford like Spinn did makes me proud to be from Merseyside. 

So unashamedly Scouse making boss music that was the perfect soundtrack to the blazing Friday afternoon. 

Bouncy and hazy guitar lines created a dynamic euphoria as their uber-catchy melodies and lyrics were as refreshing as the pints they helped sink. 

Sunshine indie-pop at its best. 

Sea Girls: Main Stage, Sunday

Indie rock can be a dry and dismal place as cliches and tropes are chucked about like bad haircuts. 

One thing that never goes amiss is the ability to have big, crowd-pleasing choruses which Sea Girls have firmly nailed down. 

A strong on-stage presence, great image and brilliant songwriting brought in a massive crowd to wake up the mainstage. 

Would recommend catching them in Liverpool, O2 Academy 2 won’t know what hit them.

Public Service Broadcasting: Market Stage, Friday

A trio which defies genre more simply as a group of extremely talented musicians which a unique creative product like no other. 

There is something hauntingly beautiful that radio monologues mixed with immersive and anthemic synth lines can create. With the most diverse crowd of the weekend, Public Service Broadcasting whet the appetite of every one of all ages and states of reality. 

The dancing astronauts were a nice touch too. 

Truck Festival Facebook

Dead Naked Hippies:  This Feeling, Saturday

Listen to this band as they played- very loud!

Sharp guitar lines with razor-edged, punk lyricism blasted its way through the lunchtime slot packing out the This Feeling stage with mosh pits to-go. 

Two Door Cinema Club: Main Stage, Sunday

Nothing else can be said about Two Door Cinema Club’s closing set other than it was a joyous affair of collective mass positivity. 

In a time where music can be so throwaway, Two Door Cinema Club stand up and continue to help dictate the direction of UK indie.

Twee indie-pop might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the cheeky riffery and big choruses brought everyone together for one last hurrah. 

The finale of illustrious fireworks displayed sealed the weekend off brilliantly. 

Cheerbleederz: The Nest, Saturday 

The Alcopop Records’ indie-punk trio belted out their fuzz-pop anti-love songs whose happy-but-sad attitude made me return to them to soundtrack the journey home. 

For fans of lo-fi, laughing at this negative world and infectious melody-heavy driven punk. 

Their set at the Nest helped highlights this dismal world… but hey we’re all cool with it as long as we have a good time. 

Foals: Main Stage, Saturday

Frankly, their homecoming couldn’t have happened any sweeter.

Immense songwriting with vivacious rhythms which took over the packed out crowd to cement them as arguably the biggest rock band in the UK right now.

A set that won’t be forgotten in a hurry packed with hits and some rarities as Foals treated everyone to a career-spanning set from their tremendous back catalogue. Glasto awaits….

 

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