Truck Festival 2011: 10 Acts You Need To “Pick-Up”

As much as the consumer loves to sanction the price of festival tickets, upholding their sheer value for money, it’s tough to ignore the fact that my Glastonbury ticket in 2007 was £150, this year everyone is having to fork out over £200.”That’s still really good though!, you pay that much for just a U2 gig ticket!” cries another naive customer, but how much do they have to raise prices by until everybody agrees that hang on, perhaps that’s a wee bit much…

Founder Robin Bennett admits “suddenly all of these venture capital companies and huge corporations have invested heavily in summer music events and as a result it has become hugely competitive”, but thankfully Truck Festival are staying true to their organic roots.

An adult weekend ticket to Truck, which includes camping, is an outrageously affordable £99. Read on.

Historically Truck have picked-up (truck joke) quite the roster; with Ash, Supergrass, Biffy Clyro and Mercury Rev all gracing previous incarnations of the motor-stage. The Truck brand itself is now transgressing the ocean to establish the name state-side, opening for business this September in upstate New York.

If you can guarantee you’ll watch these 10 cracking artists, you’ve essentially paid about a tenner for each one. Now that is really good, though.

10. Graham Coxon –


Freaking Out

After years apart Blur finally reunited in a grandiose Glastonbury spectacular, and all was well in the world. But after their pop idol success with Park Life, it was Coxon who shied away the most. Now whilst Mr. Workaholic Albarn is busy implementing artistic adventure around the globe on a Gorilla sized budget, Graham is indulging himself in the kind of abundance which satisfies his thirst for no nonsense guitar/bass/drums music. I mean, the man has seven solo albums under his belt.

Not only was he voted the 15th greatest guitarist of the last 30 years in a national 2010 BBC poll, Noel Gallagher called him “the most gifted guitarist of his generation” whilst Jonny Greenwood said “Anything that has more of Graham’s guitar playing, I’m bound to like.” Not many people are aware of his folk material either, worth catching for his guitar-work alone.

9. The Go! Team –


The Power Is On

Despite owning one of the worst band names in recent times, The Go! Team also have the added difficulty of self-imposed Go! conformity. Whilst this must surely be tiring for the six band members in both their records and live shows, the energy is more than happily acknowledged by their audience members.

Fully expect to be reminded of heroic 80s television themes, with get-up-n’-go! horns, get-up-n’-go! piano, and go! go! go! chants for you to sing along with.

8. Benjamin Francis Leftwich –


Probably more suited to the lovesick puppy-couple than the boys-on-tour benefactor, Benjamin’s name may be a mouthful, but his relaxed Damien Rice whisper sure isn’t.

Recently making the rounds on Radio 1’s playlist with his heartfelt easygoing acoustic activity, his Pictures EP is out now on Dirty Hit records to wet your whistle. If you want to jump straight in, his debut album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm is released July 4th.

7. Pete and The Pirates


One of the better more tolerable indie-rock groups out there, and criminally underrated in my opinion. Hailing from the humble town of Reading just a short swim down the Thames, they possess all the prolific indie-rock qualities of jangly guitar, frugal harmonies and most of all laddish banter.

The kind of lazy imagery (primarily beds) they sing about are perfect ingredients for lad lyrics. This is what gives their songs heaps of anthemic potential, perfect sing-alongs with your mates. Their debut album was produced by The Go! Team’s producer Gareth Parton too!

6. Fixers

Another Lost Apache

A five-piece from Oxford who actually sound like they’re from Brooklyn with, as the a-capella intro to ‘Another Lost Apache’ illustrates, strong and rather effective Beach Boy tendencies.

Similar to another entry in this list in their sunshine psychedelia, another joyous discovery and another you won’t want to miss. According to The Guardian, their live shows are often inclined to start riots…

5. Gruff Rhys –


Sensations In The Dark

For those who aren’t particularly familiar with the Super Furry Animals front-man there’s always that awkward moment when they get him confused with television personality Griff Rhys Jones, and unbelievably this happens a lot. But most of you will know him from his appearance with De La Soul on the Gorillaz’ track ‘Superfast Jellyfish’.

Yes Gruff Rhys has mastered his song-craft with his primary band, but the best things to look out for are his odd quirks which naturally find their way into all aspects of his songwriting. When he performs, it’s like watching an extension of his humorous  personality.

4. Jonquil/Chad Valley

Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel)

Hugo Manuel aka Chad Valley is an Oxfordshire resident with his eggs in many musical baskets. His 80s synth wielding Chad Valley solo project has arguably been the most successful thus far, recently receiving favourable airplay from Radio 1 in the luxurious washes of the above track. The 7-track Equatorial Ultravox is out now on Loose Lips records.

However his other band Jonquil are also making ground, sharing Dovecote Records with The Futureheads and supporting Foals on their most recent tour (they do, after all, share a house with them). Not to mention a triumphant assault on the SXSW festival circuit!

3. Cashier No. 9

Oh Pity

Named after singer Daniel Todd’s coffee-shop till that he once occupied during his down days, this Irish 4-piece have a knack for harmless yet memorable song-writing in the Travis/early Coldplay vein. But they take arrangements much higher by employing complex harmony (both vocally AND in their unusual chord changes), thoughtful riffs and a likeable country tinge which is surprisingly acceptable.

One of their earlier tracks ’42 West Avenue’, contains an example of said riff. And these catchy riffs are salient throughout their debut album To The Death Of Fun, out now on Bella Union. The band have represented Belfast at London’s Electric Proms; performed at the Knitting Factory in New York and Brighton’s Great Escape; and graced the stage at Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival. Next, Truck!

2. Tribes

We Were Children

Tribes are a marketer’s dream. They write ostensible songs aimed at that most elusive and profitable 16-24 year old demographic. Containing simple and generalised lyrics about defiance and being misunderstood.

The youth-market accommodates individuals who are constantly experiencing significant milestones in their lives, and Tribes are making sure they soundtrack them every step of the way. Their début EP We Were Children was released via Rough Trade and Island Records on June 13th.

1. Treefight For Sunlight

They Never Did Know

Danish Panda Bear anybody? Treefight For Sunlight are easily my new favourite band. All childhood friends, they entered public consciousness through a stirring performance on Channel 4’s Abbey Road Debuts.

The endless inventiveness across their self-titled debut album is entirely pleasing, and the comprehensive result is a paradoxic of ease and complexity. This is spotless sixties sunshine music, embracing swooning Beach Boy’s harmonies and Flaming Lips’ arrangements. The naturally perfect blend for bringing out the sun and cider at this year’s Truck Festival.

-James Godwin, June 24th, 2011

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