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Truck Nine – Hillside Farm, Steventon, Saturday 22nd July 2006

Last year's Truck was notable for its enormous snaky entrance queues and loong wait to get in. This year we're having a laugh with public transport, hanging about in Oxford waiting for the 35a to whisk us to the bucolic Eden that is Steventon. The bus is 20 minutes late. Turns out it's decided not to come to this bus stop today. Disgruntled we trudge round the corner to wait 40 minutes for the next 35a. By the time it arrives approximately 600 Truckers and a few bemused locals are waiting to get on. BUNDLE!! The bus departs groaning 'neath its cargo of scruffy indie kids, leaving many standing forlorn on the pavement amongst a debris of camping equipment. Hey ho, we bowl through the Oxfordshire countryside and eventually find ourselves strolling merrily through the hallowed entrance, er gazebo of Truck, nary a queue in sight.

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Being neither of these things, we hurry to shelter from the evil skin-destroying rays in the comforting gloom of the Lounge Tent, there are no bands playing, it just looks nice and shady. Then, following a tip-top tip off, it's over to the Trailer Park Tent to see Louie. Hah! What a cunning plan, taking their lead from rap artistes, Louie have two 'singers' striding about the stage trading vocals in a Run DMC, in yer face stylee. Only they are 'singing' boisterous rawk songs accompanied by the rest of Louie going bish bosh kreeoow on the usual rawk instruments. It's highly entertaining seeing the Steve Tyler bloke (non-grizzled version) and his mate hairy Hundred Reasons type bloke hollering away and synchronising their head bangage. And then doing a bit of pseudo homo-Libertinesy 'I love you, maan' stuff. Crikey, what larks! And what a frightfully jolly start to proceedings.

Louie

Next up, a Wander to the Acoustic Tent is suggested on the pretext of seeing Y ‘though I suspect the true reason for our quest is that the organic ale tent is next door. Whatever, Y isn't there, so fine ales are purchased and liberal layerings of sunblock applied before we trundle off for a sit-down in front of Harry Angel who are tootling about on the Truck stage. Hmm this isn't v. interesting is it? And double hmmm, it's gone a bit grey, time to nip under canvas. To the Lounge…
Mai Mayo Mai Within the musty murk of the Lounge tent, I can make out Mai Mayo Mai being postrocky kind of guys, complete with three guitarists, one of whom is displaying bare Hobbit feet. They gently fiddle with the skirt hems of Godspeed and maybe toss in a few Trail of Dead portentous intros and middle eights (think 'Aged Dolls'). There are wiggly floaty Chigley bits and erk! the-end-is-nigh churny bits. It's all quite diverting. Then a mighty storm blows in, the roof and sides of the tent crack like whips beneath an unholy pummelling - no Mai Mayo Mai haven't suddenly gotten coruscatingly wonderous, it's just that there appears to be a full-on, we're all doomed! monsoon taking place.
The rainfall is so fast and furious that you can't see across the field . We huddle together smugly as drowned rat types hurtle past outside screaming. Gosh.The weather abates and we scamper over to see A Silent Film (it's a band not a film, silly. Ho ho!) They manage to knock out one song, which is a bit soary and a bit earnest. Also I have taken against the guitarist's jeans - they are too polite.
Then the keyboard thing conks out and there is much scuffling with wires as the non-keyboard members of the band play some alarming jazz soundz while we wait. The singer explains that they can't continue until the keyboard works 'cos, 'We're a piano-led rock band.' I get scared by this statement and run away…
… to the Stinky Barn stage where I catch the end of Mesaplex. They stand in a row rooted behind their instruments beneath moody lighting. This makes me think of the Kraftwerk band in that episode of 'Father Ted' ho ho. Next, Half Rabbit scurry on and set about clanging away portentously. Doomily strident, strict teacher vocals -ooh it's a more prosaic Sisters Of Mercy. Hmm, stainless steel uptight guitars, hang on it's another one of those Interpol / Editors, 'We are NOT goths!' bands. They have the most bored girl in the world on drums and another girl with a sticker saying 'balls' on her bass and they do a good song that goes a bit widdly and less uptight and one that's kind of Chameleons-ish and end with one that goes all Puressence ether-kissing.
Half Rabbit
Next up, it’s Agent Blue who appear to be Kevin from 'Shameless' fronting a ‘we mean it maan’ rock 'n' groove band - huh? I make a break for it and wind up in the Trailer Park tent to see a bit of Dusty Sound System featuring Piney Gir. Piney is giving Dusty/Robin Goldrush (I'm tickled by the way Piney insists on referring to him as 'Dusty' the whole time) his birthday present - a tie from a charity shop. There are nice rollicking country rock tunes and pink tee-shirts (and ooer! removal of same) and smiley good vibes all round. Hurrah for the benevolent King of Truck!
Brakes As I emerge into the hazy afternoon sunshine my ears thrill to the sound of 'Jackson' an all round ace song that never fails to cheer me. This time it's being covered by Brakes who are clattering away like good 'uns on the Truck stage. I edge closer in order to engage in a spot of spazz dancing to the glorious 'All Night Disco Party' and a cover of 'Take The Skinheads Bowling'. Brakes seem to have broken free of their three second song cycle and make a splendid scabby noise with their foaming at the mouth party tunes. This makes everyone happy. Yes it does.

Back to the Lounge Tent for a spot of Brother Francisco featuring Simon 'Gummi Bears' Tbilissi on guitars and keyboards. They are marvellous, whipping up woozy, buzzing, falling sideways songs that panfry the more sunstruck elements of Dinosaur Jnr and The Meat Puppets (wiggy sounds of deserts full of weirdly shaped cacti), then pour in lashings of motorik drone straight from the jar labelled 'Jenny Ondioline'. Num.

Time for Good Shoes - I'm squished at the front with the lovely Delia Dansette - but only for two songs 'cos I'm not really digging the 'Shoes - it's the sound the kidz love - spiky, jerky guitar boy stuff - blah. Instead we head off into Battles over at the Stinky Barn, the place is rammed full, but heh, we are on good terms with a security bloke and he lets us sneak in through a secret er, flap.

I saw Battles for the first time two weeks ago and was most impressed, not least by their ridiculous overgrown ten foot tall cymbal stand, which the drummer has to strain upwards to reach. Obviously this is a very good thing. As is the chaotic, fizzing, funky monkey, jazz-spastic, wobbling racket that is the sound of Battles. The noises they make join the dots in your head to complete crazy patterns that you didn’t even know were in there. Thus Battles are FAB and make me swig back neat vodka in excitement whilst executing little shuffly dances, which is all the capacity crowd squashiness will allow. Battles I Love You!
Forward Russia! You bore me

The guitars go dugga dugga wobble as the drums skitter and splash and fistfuls of beeps, bloops and squeebles dust each song. And they do this amazing squeaky voice glitterbeat drums one. Aaah, this is heaven!

At the end I leave Battles a bit drunk(er) and decide to eat a veggie burger. I stretch out on the grass ‘neath the late afternoon golden glow, the light perfectly matching the soothing Flying Burrito sounds of Goldrush. Then it's Forward Russia! and my peripheral vision seems to be flickering. There is a big noise behind me emerging from the Trailer Park tent and a thunderous storm of noise in front as a man (is it that Whiskas bloke? I'm not really up on the Forwardies. Also why is he named after some cat food?) trills away, the big girl’s blouse. It's all a bit histrionic. Cor, he doesn't half go on, bellowing away like a moose. To be frank it's a bit annoying, so we wander off back to Oxford for a cup of tea and a nice lie down.

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