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TRUCK Festival Review: 7 bands that stole the show this year?

This was my first taste of Truck Festival, tucked away in a corner of Oxfordshire, yet boasting one of the biggest line-ups on the UK festival circuit this summer. Slaves, Wolf Alice, hometown favourites Foals, and Two Door Cinema Club filled out the four headline slots over the weekend, and now that I’m home and not feeling horrifically hungover it’s time to let you all know just what you missed out on. Here’s a comprehensive and definitive list of the 7 bands who truly ruled the roost at Truck.

King Nun

We take a trip down to the This Feeling stage on Saturday for our first stop, as Londoners King Nun take the 2.15 slot and politely set in on fire. Aided by a raucous crowd of devoted fans who’d shaken off the wears and tears of the previous night, King Nun took their half hour set and flew through it, with stand-out tracks ‘Hung Around’ and ‘Chinese Medicine’ rousing the crowd into a frenzy of limbs. It’s a riffy and in-your-face live show that at the same time doesn’t lose its ability to catch you and draw you in. It’s a delicate balance to achieve, and even more so to maintain, but if King Nun keep pumping out festival sets like that they’ll be a name everyone’s got on their lips in years to come. 

Sports Team

The Cambridge Sextet played to a monster crowd in the Market Stage on Saturday afternoon and left everyone feeling like they’d got good value for money from their half hour set. With a “Jaggeresque” swagger, frontman Alex Rice was in control from the get go, orchestrating the masses in pop crooner singalongs with a dissatisfied millennial edge. Tongue-in-cheek meeting post-punk segments Sports Team into their own niche, and they worked it for every one of their thirty minutes on stage. Penultimate track ‘Kutcher’ stole the show, for me at least, and their late night DJ set (which I’ve been reliably informed by an inside source was their first) went down a treat with the fans who’d made it out for a second dose. 

FEET

“A lot of people think we must do a shit ton of drugs to get up here and play like this”, frontman Jeep laughs, “but trust me, we do just as many drugs as you lot do”. FEET were class, end of. That not enough? Ok, fine, I’ll go on. When your set is cut dead halfway through your final track because of a power outage, most bands wouldn’t know what to do. FEET on the other hand began cartwheeling around the stage, grabbing a hold of each other and throwing themselves about, all while drums and the crowd kept the song going for a full final minute. “PETTY THEIVING! PETTY THEIVING!”. The Nest didn’t see a set or a crowd quite like it all weekend, and from a one-time recommendation to catch their set, I’ve just bought myself a ticket to their upcoming UK tour this Autumn. You should too. Epic.

Easy Life

Easy Life are going places. Period. End of. Wow. They were definitely on the wrong stage, mind you, with the Market Stage spilling out into the field surrounding it, but f*ck me what a set. They’re just so smooth and so effortless in how they can command a crowd with the most sultry and funky tracks, a fact that was so perfectly exemplified by their final two songs in what was a half hour set that everyone wished had been longer. ‘Pockets’ and ‘Nightmares’ saw crowdsurfing band members, a whole tent’s worth of people flying about the place, and a couple of tracks that will surely be gracing Main Stage set-lists next summer. 

The Murder Capital

Top 3 time, and we kick things off by awarding the Bronze Medal to the most intense set of the festival. The Murder Capital are what I imagine a blank stare punching you in the face sounds like. Don’t know where I’m coming from? Good, I don’t really know either but it’s about as close I could get to explaining just what this set was like. The Murder Capital only have two tracks online anywhere, and yet they filled out Truck’s second stage quite comfortably, and boy did they own everyone single person there for the duration of their set. Commanding the crowd with just a look and a drag on a cigarette, James McGovern is a truly unique talent. Aggressive restraint, subtly violent, intimidating yet accommodating, it was a performance that polarized. Not opinions of their performance, that’s not up for debate (it was fantastic to watch), but just how to explain it all. They’re a band you simply need to experience in a live setting to truly understand what they’re about, and well, well, well, look who’s touring in October!

Two Door Cinema Club

When I saw that Two Door would be closing the festival, I felt a little bit ‘meh’. I’ve never been a massive fan (unpopular opinion I know), and being so physically drained going into the final day of Truck I wasn’t in as high a spirit as I had been for Slaves, Wolf Alice, or Foals the previous nights. Then they delivered an absolutely stunning set, from start to finish, executed to perfection. The setlist couldn’t have been better, with the brilliant call to throw ‘What You Know’ out into the open as their 5th track. Vocally, they were flawless, the crowd loved every minute, the sound was on point, and the fireworks at the end framed this Irish 5-piece as a true and worthy festival headliner. The only headliner I wasn’t massively excited to see, and they went and bloody pulled that out of the bag. Festivals are great like that. So are Two Door.

IDLES

I’m going to be perfectly honest here…this wasn’t even close. Words can barely describe how good IDLES were this weekend, and having watched their Glastonbury set about 417 times I was worried going into it that I’d oversold it and could be let down. The moment Heel / Heal kicked off their extended hour-long set, that thought was well and truly out of the window. Don’t get me wrong, I love the long and drawn-out opening that Colossus offers, but if you want to take a crowd from 0 to 100 in 1.3 seconds then HH is the track to go with. From then on it was a joyful and loving collision of limbs. Divide and Conquer had the ground physically shaking, with the crowd following Joe Talbot’s lead as he stomped around the stage with his arms windmilling around his head. The reintroduction of Television into the set post-Glastonbury was a stroke of brilliance and stood out amongst a set that was all 10s. If I’m perfectly honest I’m still floored by how good they were and it’s been 5 days since they left the stage. It wasn’t just a brilliant concert that IDLES put on for Truck this year, it was a genuine privilege to be a part of it. All is love…and where’s my f*cking ice cream?!