Y-Not Festival 2013 Friday Review

It has been said that there are way too many music festivals these days. Still, like any other addiction that has to be fed, the addiction to standing in a field waiting for the rain to start is one that can’t be kicked easily.

Not that we’d want to try..

The Virginmarys Live at Y NotThe yawning chasm between Hammer Open Air and the annual highlight that is Bloodstock left a depressing white space on the planner, a white space that Y Not Festival filled just perfectly. The festival is located in the rolling Derbyshire countryside and boasted a lineup including usual CackBlabbath fayre such as Pineapple Thief and Wet Nuns, along with a large number of bands that no one here had ever heard of. It was an eclectic mix for sure, rock, indie, pop, utter pish and even Jazz..

After arriving at the site and meeting up with the rest of the team we headed down to the main stage for the first “must see” band of the weekend, local(ish) heroes The Virginmarys, a band who can’t half do “surprisingly heavy” when they put their minds to it. I’m not much of an expert on the scene from which Y Not draws it’s bands from, but I was surprised to see a band I’d actually heard of (and there weren’t many this weekend) on so early, but the blue skies and sunshine had helped encourage a substantial crowd down to check them out.

Eva Plays Dead Live at Y NotThere were a multitude of stages to pick from at Y-Not, with around 6 major ones plus various cafes, bars and even a western saloon bar all with live music on.

Definitely something for everyone.

The next port of call was based on the decision we’d made to go see bands with the best names (well in the absence of any research, it seemed as good a plan as any). It certainly served us well with the impressive Eva Plays Dead who looked to be having an absolute blast on the Allotment stage.

Always nice to find a couple of new bands that are worthy of further investigation when you go to these festivals, and Eva Plays Dead were the first name into the “must check them out later” list.

Dizraeli and the Small Gods Live at Y NotBack on the main stage, we had the first major difference of opinion within the CackBlabbath ranks as to whether a band were the best ting EVA, or not. The “best name” rule meant that Dizraeli and the Small Gods were a must see, and although I’m not the biggest fan of HipHop there’s no denying they put on a show, from energetic frontman Dizraeli to the obligatory guy at the back on the decks and MacBook.

Wearing a dressing gown.

Ok, Ok, I admit it, I did quite enjoy them. Inventive and original, D&TSG provided the perfect soundtrack of late afternoon music for the mostly young and largely drunk audience to dance to, and dance they did.

Dutch Uncles Live at Y NotAfter that, there was a period of wandering about trying to find something to float the proverbial boat. Big Bad Wow back on the Allotment stage were the best on offer, but the lure of the Zebra burger (yep, seriously) was too great so a visit to the “unusual meat” stall was in order.

They didn’t have Zebra though, just the “usual” Kangaroo and Ostrich. Damn tasty they were too.

Rather ominous storm clouds were starting to gather when we headed back to the main stage for Dutch Uncles who were probably most noteable (at least to the uninitiated like us) for a slightly weird array of on-stage dance moves from their frontman.

Nope, can’t remember much else about them apart from that.

So far the music on offer at Y Not had exceeded all of my pre-festival expectations. There’s always a worry that when you go to an event which is mostly bands you don’t know and genres that you don’t listen to that it’ll all drag into one long blur but at Y Not the sheer range of the musical offerings was amazing, as was the quality. Mostly.

I may have known nothing about most of the bands here before the weekend, but I’ve certainly added a few to keep an eye out for since.

Public Service Broadcasting Live at Y NotLike Public Service Broadcasting.

Right, how to describe this band in a way that will do them the justice they deserve. Well they are a two piece with a drummer and a multi-instrumental / Sample chap,with the obligatory MacBook. Going under the names of J. Willgoose, Esq and his “drumming companion”  Wrigglesworth the band’s stage set consisted of crt-esque monitors which showed old movie reel clips (from propaganda films and public service broadcasts, funnily enough).

In an age when standards are slipping, it was nice to see Wrigglesworth in a shirt and tie, never mind the other bloke’s corduroy jacket and bow tie.

Oh, and a banjo, he played a banjo. And a Rickenbacker 6-string. Not at the same time obviously.

Neutralize Live at Y NotI have to admit, I absolutely loved Public Service Broadcasting. Their multi-layered sound consisting of post-rock with electronica and an awesome use of samples. On the website they call what they do “Live AV Transmissions”, and it’s well thought out, well executed and bloody good fun.

A swing past the Allotment stage threw up one of those surreal festival moments. All of the stages had been pretty busy all day, but here there was a guy with a turntable and a MacBook playing to an empty tent.

Ok, Ok, to be fair it was ALMOST empty..

Willy Moon Live at Y NotBack to the main stage for another band picked on the basis of their name. Willie Moon were one of the acts that my extensive pre-festival research had highlighted as being “a bit good”, but I was wrong… they were a LOT good.

Unfortunately soon after they started their set the inevitable happened, and the heavens opened. There had been threats of rain for a while but the thick black clouds that had rolled in were portents of a storm of almost biblical proportions….

And as soon as the rain started the PA rig on the main stage died. (love the fact the Drummer is always the last to notice). The band hung around on stage for a few minutes looking uncomfortable before heading back to the dressing room while a generator was wheeled into position backstage.

When things eventually got underway again Willy and the girls picked up where they left off and the rain even managed to stop, for a while.

Max Raptor Live at Y NotMust be about time for the band of the day then…

The CackBlabbath team took shelter from the rain in The Giant Squid tent, and in doing so accidentally came across the highpoint of the Friday. Max Raptor were (another) new name on us, but by christ they were good. Energy, killer riffs and massive hooks. We may have popped in for a quick look see but Max Raptor have that immediate wow factor that ensures no one in their right mind would leave until they were finished.

The next band on the main stage bill were “special guests”, but they weren’t special at all, they were Reverend And The Makers. Seemed to be a good point at which to go for something to eat, we lasted until around the “you lads stop doing them circles, the girls don’t like it” point.

Circle pits… Reverend And The Makers… The world’s gone mad. Must have been the electricity in the air.

The Mystery Jets Live at Y NotStill, at least they got the crowd going, building the excitement for the next band to grace the main stage.. An excitement that the Mystery Jets soon sucked out of the place. FOOK ME THEY WERE BORING. I mean I wasn’t expecting Pyro and explosions, but seriously, this is a sub-headline band for a major festival ??


Obviously the weather gods agreed that things needed a spot of livening up so the thunder storm that had been gathering directly over the site all afternoon decided to let rip. This was proper divine wrath stuff with huge forks of lightning looking like they were stretching from horizon to horizon. It was an awesome display of natural power, although I did look at the metal arch of the main stage and wonder how well it had been earthed.. Maybe the Mystery Jets would get some pyro after all ??

Deciding the answer to the earthing question was “not very”, I headed for my car while the rest of team CB stumbled back to their tents. Day one of Y Not 2013 had thrown up some great music and we’d all had a blast, but given the monsoon conditions I was quite pleased that I wouldn’t be there on the Saturday as things were going to get a bit muddy and I had a previous engagement in London with a wee band called Iron Maiden.