Truck Festival 2010: Rated!
Hill Farm, Oxfordshire - 24-25 July
Daniel Pratley on 27 July 2010
Overall - 7/10
A breeding ground for burgeoning talent, Truck carries an element of kudos in the festival world. Questionable headliners (Mew and Teenage Fanclub anyone?) may have kept this year’s numbers down but it’s the nether regions of Truck that keep them wheels rolling. When DIY ethics dissolve Truck will remain; 13 years on and still trucking.
Getting There and Back – 8/10
All non-bumpkins from major conurbations have buses laid on by Truck from Didcot Station, and for those special people who live in Oxford, there’s an additional Truck bus just for you. Driving is, we consider, a rather joyous experience, no queues in or out and parking only strides from the campsite at an £8 fee.
The Site – 7/10
If you want balls and bells, there are better, but what Truck lacks in frilly details it gains in rugged functionality. A visit to the bar or plastic commode can be as hasty or leisurely as you desire, but there is one queuing thorn to contend with: The Barn stage. Queuing for the lingering funk of cow shit has never been so painful, but with this (usually) active bovine bunker also housing some of the weekend’s biggest acts, its tiny capacity is continually exceeded. Leaving angry punters outside craving a nostril of cow funk.
Atmosphere – 9/10
A healthy and heady mix of the worn and weathered and little and lithe give Truck a fantastic atmosphere. Frankly it’s schizophrenic, but the atmosphere remains respectful to all genres showcased over the weekend. Fucked Up and Pulled Apart By Horses get the nutty foaming teenagers both nutty and foaming, whilst the shoe-gazers smile on at the exuberance of youth. And whilst the gazers stroke-off to Mercury Rev, the nutty teens are equally respectful. Its’ a love-in; a more courteous and dynamic atmosphere you will not find anywhere outside Fuji Rock.
Music – 7/10
If it’s a decent headliner you’re after, you best return to the bar because you’ve stumbled into the wrong field. Friday sees the critically overrated Mew headline the main stage, sucking and heaving all life from our soul. Had it not been for Ms Dynamite’s cow-shed performance, and trust us, that’s not something we were expecting, we’d have happily booted our remaining brain cells, and those of Mew back into oblivion. And if you didn’t do it yourself, Saturday’s flurry of Pulled Apart By Horses followed by Fucked Up is the perfect way to masticate your senses before vegetating in front of Saturday’s main stage headliner Teenage Fanclub. Apart from never, there is no better way to catch the Fanclub than after bursting your eardrums.
Esben And The Witch (9/10) – Haunting and claustrophobic has never been so brilliant, EaTW are the first to break the bad sound in the Barn.
phantogram (8/10) – Poodle pin-up Darwin Deez may not be the best barometer of cool, but he’s spot on for swapping Mew for this Saratoga Springs duo. Beat heavy and whimsical; phantogram bring the cutting-edge to Friday.
Pulled Apart By Horses / Fucked Up (8/10) – the double not to be attempted by the feint hearted. If you weren’t spat on by Hudson you were likely to be sat on by the considerable weight of Abraham. Both bands put on a considerable show of rock, not seen since Blood Red Shoes gave a fan a chip – and yes, this rock’n’roll moment did take place on the main stage the same day.
Mercury Rev Clearlight ensemble (8/10) – yeah its self indulgent but it’s magical. Mercury Rev, minus Donohue (who introduces the piece) soundtrack old avant-garde films. It’s impossible to understand, even boring in parts but there is a cow shed full or beautiful moments.
DJ Zinc and MS Dynamite (8/10) – Ms Dynamite’s old drum and bass bones still party like dubstep never happened. And if Dynamite’s credentials are questionable, there’s always the grade 1 laser making shapes to entertain.
Thomas Traux (3/10) – A one man art installation better suited to solitary confinement, not the main stage. Give up Thomas, or just go away.
Mercury Rev not playing (0/10) – you’re all onstage, you’re all having a good noodle to an occult movie, why not break into a ‘Deserter’s Song’ track?