Posted in music | pictures on May 5, 2010

words & photos by Alexandra Marvar, more photos by Claire Bennnett, Gabe Soria & Sonam Zoksang

Roadside Graves @ Truck America

Truck America 2010

"After 12 years America got its first taste of Truck at a resort in the Catskills about three hours outside of New York City. A more modest affair in size and lineup than the forthcoming Truck in Steventon this July, the Full Moon resort was perfectly situated for the comparatively small event.

The entire weekend made for a remarkably relaxed experience. While the weather in the Catskills in early May is usually akin to that of Oxfordshire in the summer, the days were unseasonably warm and the nights crisp, making sitting in an unheated converted barn after midnight a pleasant experience." [Clash]

Alexandra Marvar, who performed at British Truck festival offshoot TRUCK AMERICA this past weekend with the Mercury Rev orchestra, and with Common Prayer, reviews the fest's highlights with accompanying pictures. Check it out below...

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Roadside Graves

Truck America 2010

Natureboy
Truck America 2010

Neil Halstead
Truck America 2010

Mercury Rev

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

- Mercury Rev's special appearance supported by a chamber orchestra was moving. In fact, I nearly wept during a cover of George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" but had to refrain, as my energy was required in the woodwind section, on clarinet. My chair was beside Truck founder Robin Bennett on flute. Joe Bennett scored the orchestra parts and conducted, and swapped his conductor's baton for a trumpet in the encore performance of "Goddess on a Highway." Also of note: an endearingly honest cover of Nico's "These Days," with a striking string part of staccato violin on the off-beat, and several serious favorites from Rev's beloved Deserter's Songs--"Holes," "Carwash Hair," "Tonight it Shows"--which were as compelling as they were when we put them on mix tapes last decade.

Hopewell

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Hopewell, who played England's Truck fest in 2007 and had a hand in curating the American event, played three sets this weekend (Thursday night warm-up party, Friday night special 15-year retrospective, Saturday night super-spirited 2 a.m. rock extravaganza).

Truck America 2010

Common Prayer

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Ida
Truck America 2010

Here We Go Magic

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

White Rabbits

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

- Here We Go Magic and White Rabbits' appearances at the fest were the epic conclusion of their tour together. White Rabbits' Steve Patterson lamented the bittersweetness of it all. They made Truck their own, playing back-to-back phenomenal sets, joining each other on stage for more than one mega-percussion situation that may have shook the mountain, and later that night waving giant sparklers in an all-inclusive shoulder-to-shoulder a capella circle, wailing the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water" refrain on the Roadhouse porch.

The Silent League
Truck America 2010

Grand Mal
Truck America 2010

Nina Violet
Truck America 2010

- Upstate sensation Nina Violet and her band arrived from Martha's Vineyard in a school bus piloted by Willy Mason and erected their canvas-clad geodesic dome in the camping area. They played a barn stage Friday night; Nina's sister Marciana Jones accompanied her on an unstoppable cocktail of neat things (omnichord, harp, etc) and sang some sibling harmonies that tugged at the heartstrings.

Monogold
Truck America 2010

Gary Louris

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

- Gary Louris of the Jayhawks took the stage Saturday evening. He threw together a band on site (fest founders the brothers Bennett, Tim Easton, Cat Martino, Hopewell's Tyson Lewis), and their finale rendition of "Blue" was everything we wanted it to be.

Tim Easton and Joe Bennett sing back-up vocals for Gary Louris
Truck America 2010

Robin, Joe, and Claire Bennett, Truck festival organizers, with Michael Lang, creator of the original Woodstock festival (second from left)
Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

Truck America 2010

- The North Wales band the Joy Formidable spent their second day in America blowing minds when they headlined Truck America's main stage Friday night. Created in the image of Karen O gone blond, the girl power exuded by Ritzy Bryan was captivating. Now on tour, you can catch them at Mercury Lounge in NYC on May 10th.

- As it always has in the festival's English permutation, Truck's structure devolved organically into a til-dawn campfire singalong--Neutral Milk Hotel, the Beatles, and a "Goddess on a Highway"/ "Wonderwall" medley, while Rev's Grasshopper rocked along shouting "We wrote it first!"

- Unlike any other music festival I've attended, "There wasn't really any panicking," reflected organizer Claire Bennett. The food was decent and not overpriced. The security crew were polite and good-humored. Swimming, camping, English football, and a slew of other indie rock summer camp activities made good use of the mountain environs. No bands overlapped by more than a few minutes, so relatively few difficult choices needed to be made about when to be where. Elaborately-facepainted children frolicked. Michael Lang, co-creator of the original Woodstock festival, chilled on the lawn. Joan as Policewoman & company spent a morning foraging for nettles and dandelions around their band bungalow--it was that kind of vibe. And there was no cell phone signal. None. Truck America was the anti-festival. We look forward to its return to patriot soil.

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catch Joan as Policewoman this summer for free in Prospect Park.

White Rabbits
play a free show in East River Park.

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Comments (16)

Wow, this looked like fun. Go Neil Halstead!

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 9:19 AM

Neil's set was drop-down AWESOME. All of Saturday's music was awesome. Actually, the whole time was awesome. It was great to get out there, camp, not crowded at all, hear some amazing music both new and old, talk to the bands, and be completely away from cell phones for three days!

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 9:46 AM

Dreaming Spires set was great, Atlantic Pacific played a really pretty set as well. Missed Ida but saw the Rev. Wow.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 10:39 AM

The Sunday main stage shows were fantastic!! Randi Russo played a sublime solo set accompanied by (Dreaming Spires)Joe Bennett on 'Swallow' which brought down the house. The Oxygen Ponies were not to be missed, showcasing some of the strongest songs of the day with an eight piece ensemble - setting the stage for what was to come. Grand Mal killed it, followed by Common Prayer's hippie love party, the gentle Ida lulled us into heaven as the sun went down and the addictive and ferocious Here We Go Magic and headliners White Rabbits!

Posted by Jim | May 6, 2010 10:45 AM

Joan as Policewoman and Hopewell were two of my favorite things of the whole weekend.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 11:48 AM

awesome set list from Merc Rev but as noted above, Car Wash Hair isn't on Desserter's Songs.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 12:15 PM

Loved the vibe at Roadhouse stage - Summer camp with a full bar. Two awesome new favorite band discoveries: -1- Cat Martino: When Cat played The Barn it felt like a wooden church in the forest -- so beautiful. Totally going back. -2- Monogold: can't believe I haven't heard of them before. Such a cool sound. Brooklyn meets nature.

Posted by tina | May 6, 2010 12:37 PM

This was one of the greatest weekends, and most chilled out festival I've ever been to. Glad I was up there early enough to catch Monogold's set, they were one of the memorable acts that weekend for me, along with the beautiful voice and music of Cat Martino, and of course Mercury Rev, White Rabbits - always awesome. All the bands were great, and the camping was so much fun. I understand the turnout was not as large as expected, yet I really hope Truck decides to return next year so I can do this again, and tell more friends to come!!! if not I may just have to get a plane ticket and head over to the UK...

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 12:41 PM

Do not forget Tim Easton, whose late night Friday roadhouse set was a revelation, and who played several other times during the weekend, including that amazing Louris set. It seemed like every time I turned around Tim was smiling and carrying his guitar around. What a nice fellow and an amazing performer.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 2:52 PM

a lot of the songs rev played aren't on deserter's songs. some of the best ones were tho!

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 3:46 PM

What a beautiful weekend. why cant all festivals be like this? Can't wait for next year.

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 4:16 PM

My favorite new band discovery from Truck was definitely the Oxygen Ponies - Paul Megna was a revelation. The Sadies also put on a tremendous show as did Joy Formidable!

Posted by Anonymous | May 6, 2010 7:36 PM

Thanks for these great pics.

It was a great weekend. The music, the vibe, the locale, the food, the weather - all fantastic. It probably was not as well-attended as they may have hoped, but that only added to the intimacy.

Neil Halstead was great and it was funny seeing him trying to corral his kids the rest of the weekend. It added a real human touch.

Looking forward to its return. A highly recommended weekend retreat from the rat race.

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