Sunday 11 August 2013

Y Not Festival // Live Review & Video

Y Not Festival is fast becoming one of the UK’s best boutique festivals. Set in the Derbyshire countryside, the festival now in its 8th year has been awarded Best Small Festival 2012 and Best Toilets Award (we kid you not), and with a line-up as impressive as this year’s then it’s no surprise it once again sold out in advance.

Est.1987 headed out to the country to bring you all the action from the site. To read our review and watch an exclusive behind the scenes of the festival click below…


Our 2013 Y Not Festival kicked off with southern indie, synthpop five piece Propellers. Well, we say five-piece, bassist Charlie Simpson unfortunately missed half of the set after being held up in traffic. However the band battled on without him and when he eventually joined the stage things kicked up into another gear. Electro rock at its best, new single “Black Mascara” is a crowd favourite. Propellers kicked off Y Not 2013 in style and we expect great things from them this year (7/10). Next up we think we may have found our new favourite band. Sons And Lovers may be only gearing up to release their first single “Ghosts” but they put in an impressively assured and confident performance. Infectious melodies, intricate harmonies and a building epic quality to songs such as “King” and “Golden”, they are reminiscent of bands such as Arcade Fire and Idlewild. One of our favourite sets of the entire weekend and we wait with baited breath to see what is coming next from the quartet (8/10).

Y-Not 2013 [Photo: Big Dave Photography] 
Heading over to the main stage we were just in time to catch Dutch Uncles. Eclectic and quirky with a mix of mellow and more upbeat songs, and even the odd glockenspiel or two, their set is the perfect afternoon treat. Songs such as “Flexxin’” and “Slave To The Atypical Rhythm” are instant crowd pleasers and with the sun threatening to come out the festival is well and truly in swing (7/10). Public Service Broadcasting is next on the bill at the Quarry Tent. One of the most dynamic acts playing at this year’s Y Not the London duo, and third and only talking member, their computer, they put together music sampling archived public information and propaganda material. Channeling an electro-rock meets dance, at times Kraftwerk sound, Public Broadcasting Service go down well with the packed out tent; fan favourties “ROYGBIV” and “Theme From PSB” are stand out tunes (8/10). Willy Moon puts in a confident performance out on the main stage; slick, vintage 50s classic rock n roll sounds are fused with modern electro beats and fluctuating sounds. The weather may be pretty miserable by this point but hit song, the infectious “Yeah, Yeah” more than makes up for it (8/10).

Female Liverpudlian three-piece Stealing Sheep have been backed by Radio One and quite rightly so. Dark, echoic and percussive and, joined on stage by a group of musicians, they produce a building cacophony of sounds that is truly mesmerising. Quirky and likeable, the set highlight comes in the form of “Shut Eye” (7/10). The sun is just about shining as synth-pop quintet Chapel Club take to the stage.  Moody and echoic “Sleep Alone” is minimal and effortless; lead singer Lewis Bowman’s vocals drive the song with ease. “Surfacing” which samples “Dream A Little Dream of Me” is undoubtedly highlight of the band’s set and one of our favourite songs of the entire weekend (7.5/10).

dan le sav vs Scroobius Pip at Y-Not 2013 [Photo: Big Dave Photography]
“The Beat That My Heart Skipped” kicks off dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip’s headline set in style. Stirring and empowering, the headline set is the perfect way to end day one of 2013’s Y Not Festival. But, in typical British style it wouldn’t be a festival without the odd rain shower or two. However, this one came in the form of an electrical storm which led to everyone in the tent being evacuated. The set was eventually finished off to a very wet and slightly confused crowd. Nevertheless, the hip-hop, spoken word, rap duo put on an impressive show and we wouldn’t have expected anything less (8/10).


Never mind the calm before the storm, as we head down to day two of Y Not 2013 it appears there’s a calm after the storm. The torrential rain and lightning last night may have called for the use of wellies, but the mood is good as we head into the chilled out surrondings of The Saloon for a little secret acoustic show by Twisted Wheel’s enigmatic front man Jonny Brown. The Saloon was fit to burst as Jonny takes to the stage, just him and his guitar, and he plays chilled out versions of Twisted Wheel classics and album tracks such as “Ride” and “Lucy The Castle”. Informal and with no setlist he takes requests and jokes with the crowd. Twisted Wheel has a notorious reputation for riotous shows. Within the confines of the small bar there are only the murmurings of rebellion and the odd chant. However, that was put right by the end of the day as Chloe Howl’s withdrawel due to illness paved the way for a Twisted Wheel full live set on the Quarry Stage a few hours later (8.5/10). Swim Deep bring their mellow tropical indie tunes to the main stage early afternoon, just in time for the cold and wind to subside. With long melodic breakdowns, the set at times felt slightly self indulgent. However, the fun “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” Cyndi Lauper cover definitely pulled it back (6/10).

And just as the rain started, again, we were ready to get back under a tent for our second dose of Twisted Wheel. This time lead singer Jonny Brown was joined on stage with full live band; bigger, better and rowdier it is fair to say that things certainly went up a notch from his earlier acoustic set. In typical Twisted Wheel style the Mancunian four-piece stir the crowd into a riot. Playing juiced up versions of Jonny’s earlier solos (as well as some extra treats) they blitz through hits such as “Bad Candy” and “You Stole The Sun”. Their live reputation precedes them and they were a welcome surprise to the festival, leaving everyone thinking Chloe Howl who? (9/10).

Zico Chain may have missed their original time slot at the festival (stuck in M1 traffic) but lucky fans of the band got to see them a couple of hours later at the rescheduled time slot. Slight confusion over the fact it wasn’t Gnarwolves taking to the stage soon subsided as the London rock four-piece delivered a high octane, fast paced set filled with soaring, old rock style anthems such as “Where Would You Rather Be? Big riffs and punchy choruses were a wake-up call for the afternoon, sending a buzz through the tent (8.5/10). Temples bring to the stage an eclectic mix of psychedelic sounds. Songs such as “Ankh” are big and bold with haunting electro sounds with a vintage 60s feel. The four-piece’s set is filled and epic choruses and long breakdowns. With the sun blazing down on the festival site, “Shelter Song”, (reminiscent of Beatles tones) is the perfect up-beat closing song (7/10).

The 1975 play to a packed out tent at Y-Not Festival [Photo: Big Dave Photography]
The 1975 are probably one of the bands on everyone’s lips this weekend at Y Not, which could explain why the tent in which they’re playing is overflowing as the huge crowd waits for the Manchester quartet to take to the stage. Their debut album isn’t even released yet (September 9th if you wondered) but the majority of the crowd here this evening know every single word. Song after song, each one could be a hit single. Synth indie rock highlights of the set are “Chocolate” and “The City”. Pulling in one of the biggest crowds all weekend The 1975 ooze charisma and are effortless and slick up on the Quarry Stage. We have a feeling that this is only the beginning (9/10). It is left to Deaf Havana to close the Quarry Stage out in style. With a new album on the way and a documentary, the excitement surrounding the band’s show tonight is high. Mixing old classics with new favourites, and even the odd acoustic track, the set is the perfect mix of upbeat rock anthems and slower, building tracks. The set begins with “Boston Square” and “Kings Road Ghosts”, both taken from the forthcoming album, “Old Souls”; their Springsteen meets Gaslight Anthem, effortlessly infectious and undeniably anthemic. The quintet then take things back a little to older hits “The Past Six Years” and “Leeches”. Each song is a crowd favourite and the packed tent is a wave of movement. A great way to top off day two on the Quarry Stage (9/10).

Ash's Tim Wheeler on stage at Y-Not Festival [Photo: Adrian Gordon]
Ash have been going for well over a decade and their support slot on the mainstage doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Hit after hit, every song better than the next, it was a welcome reminder of just how many good rock songs the Northern Irish band has. “Girl From Mars”, “Shining Light” and closing on “Burn Baby Burn”, the audience were left suitably pleased after their Ash fix; it was only a shame that they weren’t allowed to play longer (9/10). The Cribs round the evening off in a way that only they could. The Wakefield trio are on good form; typically jovial and mischievous and joke along with the crowd. It is a great insight into the back catalogue of the three-piece; “Hey Scenesters!”, “Men’s Needs” and “I’m A Realist” are great reminders of why we love the cheeky chappies. Newer album tracks feel a little disjointed set against huge favourites and fall a little flat. However, the band pull it back and still manage to deliver an energetic headline worthy finish to day two (8/10).

The Cribs headline set at Y-Not Festival [Photo: Big Dave Photography]
Y Not Festival 2013 well and truly delivered and once again was a worthy sell out. With pre-sale tickets already available for next year we recommend you snap them up and we will see you at the front. Roll on next summer.

To watch exclusive footage of the bands and behind the scenes from Y-NOT Festival head over to our resident presenter Clare's YouTube Channel HERE