Thursday, August 04, 2016

Live Review :: Y Not Festival :: Pikehall, Derbys - Jul 29 - 31 2016

Live Review

Y Not Festival

Pikehall, Derbyshire

July 29 - 31 2016

Words/Photos: Kenny Davies

Now in its 11th year, Derbyshire's Y Not Festival has grown from a small summer party affair organised by students, to an event with high calibre performers, who this year included the likes of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Madness, The Hives, The Cribs, Everything Everything, Coasts, Circa Waves, Editors and over 200 more.

Former Mercury Prize nominees Everything Everything display their electric pop wares before a gathered crowd, and The Cribs follow suit delivering a set that harks back nine years with 'Men’s Needs' and 'I’m A Realist' and buoys up the festival spirit. Headliners Editors bring an impressive array to their sunset set as they bring out one anthemic tune after another from 'Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors' and 'Papillon', as pyrotechnics launch around Tom Smith.

Kassassin Street

Kassassin Street on the Main Stage play an early slot on the first day - never an easy position, especially in the rain, but they draw a big enough crowd to warrant their appearance, and wash over them some psychedelic coloured beats, from recent single 'Hand in My Pocket' and 'Centre Straight Atom'. The wet crowd embraced it all. Baby Strange play to a packed out area on The Allotment stage, the tent courtesy of indie club night This Feeling and Jack Daniel's. They unleash a barrage of heavy guitars and power through a blistering set which had many of the crowd singing and moshing along all night. If you had popped your head in the tent you could easily have thought these were the headliners.

Baby Strange

Actual headliners on the same stage are Brighton's Black Honey who bring their Pulp Fiction/spaghetti western indie mash-up up to the Sales to storm the stage, demanding everyone's attention. Starting with a raucous version of 'Spinning Wheel', the band are relentless throughout the set. Recent single 'All My Pride' brings the house down with big mosh circles forming and everybody going nuts.

Eliza & The Bear and Milk Teeth provide some tune-worthy indie and pop-punk respectively, Catfish & the Bottlemen draw a huge crowd with enigmatic frontman Van McCann showing the English northerners how they do festivals in Wales, as inflatable crocodiles hover over singing crowds to anthemic songs such as 'Soundcheck' and 'Pacifier'. Noel Gallagher fulfills his slot as headliner in fine style - along with a three-piece brass section - bringing out ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ to engage a crowd in joyful sing-a-longs.

The Amazons

Elsewhere,The Amazons were another early starter on the Main Stage, and it's It's clear from the outset that the Reading outfit's singer has a bit of flu and struggles with some of the higher notes, which is a shame because when on form The Amazons have some huge sounding U2-esque songs. Their music itself sounds right at home on a big stage, and I doubt it will be too long before we see them on another one. Like their fellow Reading brothers, Sundara Karma have grown steadily over the last year and today it is very evident how much progress they have made. Playing to a packed tent in the afternoon, everybody is clearly enjoying the set: big sounding songs like 'Flame', 'A Young Understanding' and 'Vivienne' get massive responses, singing, jumping and people on shoulders. Indie pop at its finest.

The Sherlocks

Next up on The Quarry Stage, The Sherlocks, have brought their ever-growing army with them and it's not long before football chants ring out before they have even taken to the stage. Massive beach balls are thrown into the crowd, and it's party time in the tent. Big anthems in waiting run through the set; 'Last Night' and 'Live for the Moment' sound bigger than The Courteeners and closing number 'Chasing Shadows' brings forth more chants
and huge cheers, the band leave leaving the crowd hot, sweaty and very satisfied.

Pretty Vicious

Changing the tone are Pretty Vicious, loud fast and no frills, but plenty of thrills. They treat the big crowd to some no holds barred rock 'n' roll and the crowd duly respond with big mosh circles forming and bodies clattering each other to the sound of a vicious version of 'It's Always There', a storming 'National Plastics' and crowd pleaser, 'Cave Song'. At the end of the set it's feedback and antics all the way, screeching every last drop of noise they can from the instruments, guitars thrown and smashed on the floor and then they are gone.

Stockport is bigged up with teens No Hot Ashes who delight the crowd with their funky indie vibes on The Allotment tent stage, and Blossoms, who headline the stage tonight. Wherever you look there are people on shoulders, hands in the air, singing along to songs like the beautiful 'Getaway', the menacing pop of 'Polka Dot Blues', and the indie synth of 'Charlemagne'. During an acoustic version of 'My Favourite Room' the crowd take over the vocals for a verse and thrown in at the end of the song is a couple of lines of the Oasis song 'Half The World Away', before the crowd duly take over the vocals once more. Catfish and the Bottlemen better watch out because Blossoms are on their tails and gunning for world domination.


Indie punks, the Swedish The Hives provide a high energy set with moshing and flares seeing fans go into manic overdrive on songs like 'Hate To Say I Told You So' and 'Tick Tick Boom'. Camden ska-sters Madness close the show with their mixture of humour, infectious songs and general good vibe feel that has kept them going for 40 years, as fans bopped and sang along to 'My House', 'Baggy Trousers' and 'Night Boat To Cairo'.

Earlier, fast-rising Brighton band White Room pack out the mid-afternoon Allotment tent and start off on their psychedelic-infused set.

White Room

Vocalist Jake Smallwood with standard tambourine in hand, bounces around the stage and down to the front barrier, whilst delivering an intense vocal performance that only goes to further whip up the crowd. At the start of the last song of the set, 'Freaking On', Jake isn't on stage but instead climbing up the lighting rig where he sits to sing before dismounting near the end of the song via the guitarist's shoulders. Keep an eye on this band.

And keep an eye on what Y Not throw up for 2017 as if you missed it this year, start saving now for next year as you won't want to miss.

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