It’s agreed by all who attended that this year’s 2000 Trees Festival was hotter than the sun. Fortunately Axes, BSM’s newly (or not so newly) signed act were kind enough to put up with my drunken chit chat and hang out for a few moments beneath the Lebowski Bar (see Fig. 1).
Fresh off the stage there were beads of sweat on leaping off all present and an almost unnatural exuberance for 1pm on a Saturday afternoon. This, it seems, is owing to a more than strenuous pre-show workout, one which leaves the show itself as the warm down. Although no demonstrations were given, I was assured that it mostly involved lifting the bassist Stacy and ‘pumping iron’, presumably Irn Bru. I certainly goes some way to explaining their outrageously energetic live performances, especially for an instrumental band.
Having got together with BSM and released their first single, Wet Wet Wet Wet, last November they are now touring their self-titled debut album, as well as hitting up a few of the UK’s smaller, mathier festivals over the summer. They were particularly excited about ArcTanGent with its ridiculously exciting line-up (of which their show was one of the best), as well as seeing Bats and That Fucking Tank during their stay at 2kTrees. These smaller festivals, Y-Not and Truck included, are all tied together by their penchant for instrumental, guitar driven bands. Paul and Al (guitarist and drummer respectively) claim that they were driven to writing ‘the most fucked up music imaginable’ by working for a pop-reggae band for three years. They then got hold of Stacy who was the best bass player they knew, and Jeion who was the best guitarist they knew and Axes was birthed into the universe. Or something like that. Not long after BSM came a lurching, and signed them up after only a handful of shows, although they couldn’t decide whether it was 7, 4 or none.
If you haven’t heard it yet, the music is fucked. So fucked Axes are still trying to work out how they actually write music. Jumping from noodly guitar riffs to bassline grooves and then back again leaves their audiences somewhat bemused, but such is the nature of mathmatical rock, yo. More bemused that the band themselves, despite the fact that writing seems like such an arduous process: ‘a lot of the time its about someone having an idea, taking it into rehearsal and then we go “yeah, that’s good, but maybe play it backwards, and like, four times faster, but then cut off half of it and then… no, actually let’s not, let’s do this!”’, although Al lays down the law when things get too silly. Not everyone can be Bono.
And that was that. We stumbled back to the shade of the mother tree (despite its name there was only one tree in the whole site!) and left Axes to devise more ways of subverting pop-reggae, mainly through the medium of punning song titles. Here’s Middle East 17 for your earbuds, blud.