There was excitement in the air as we woke up on the third and final day of Y-Not Festival… dulled only by a slight hangover. Firstly it wasn’t raining for once, but also this was the day we were most looking forward to line-up wise. We were up bright and early, much to the annoyance of the group of teenagers camped next to us who shouted several times for us to “shut up and stop singing”. I’m sure something similar happened at Les Fest 2 only a few weeks back…
As soon as the novelty of angering hungover children had passed we heading into the arena and straight for the Hog and Barrel, where we once again made ourselves comfy in the hay. I cannot stress how chilled the vibe is in there. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and ran by a group of guys who clearly put a lot of love and passion into what they do. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it for next year. First on in here were Indie group, The Fontana Instincts. These guys had two different sets today. This one featured half the band, Tom Campbell and Jim Widdop, both on guitar, playing a stripped back version of what we would be treated to later on the Allotment Stage with the whole group. There was a nice country feel to these Derby boys which worked nicely with the setting.
Fancying something a little different we moved across to The Giant Squid, which had so far showcased some of the most exciting bands the festival had to offer. Opening this stage were AK/DK. This band were, for me, the most confusing act of the weekend. Maybe this is just us being presumptuous, but we figured with a name like AK/DK they would give us some good old fashioned British rock. Wrong. When we walked into the tent we first spotted the set up on stage which consisted of two drum kits facing each other, a set of decks and two keyboards. It wasn’t looking hopeful. A couple of minutes later, two young lads came out and there was confusion for a while of whether they were sound checking or they had actually started their set. What we could hear was one of the guys making strange, prolonged noises into his microphone at varying pitches while the other hit the keyboard creating a sound not unlike a cat walking across the instrument would. We soon came to the conclusion that we had stumbled across two boys experimenting in their bedroom and we would come back when they had learned to play real music and off we went. It’s at this point however that I should say we might have been too hasty with our exit here, as when we returned to this tent later, the boys had just finished and the crowd were going mental for them. Good sized audience, lots of people lined up to buy CDs… we may have missed out on something exciting here. Our lesson to not judge so quickly had been well and truly learned.
Continuing along the line of strange and music we next went to watch Dingus Khan. This band consisted of three drummers, three bass players, one guitar and one ukulele… all dressed in white except the singer/guitar player who wore a black dressing gown. Already they seemed slightly odd. These guys however were brilliant. They were strange and random but were having great fun with it and had a huge amount of energy onstage. The crowd was loving their rock and roll style and although there was a complete fail of a sing-a-long at the end of the set everyone had clearly had a great time during the performance.
Next on the agenda was Saint Raymond, performing in The Quarry. Saint Raymond consisted of one man, Callum Burrows, on vocals and guitar playing a set of crowd pleasing Indie numbers. This guy has an incredible voice, a bit like an English Ryan Adams. Good song-writing, simple rocky tracks and easy on the eyes… which is always nice.
At this point Iain showed up (after a proper night’s sleep and a shower), for one of the bands he’d talked about before the Festival. A lot.
So he can take it from here…
One of the band’s I’d most been looking forward to from the whole weekend was, coincidentally, one of those “what on earth are you doing on that bill” bands. Now It’s no great secret that I’m a big fan of Pineapple Thief, but I wasn’t quite sure how Bruce & co’s guitar driven prog would go over with a crowd who were predominantly teenagers.
Not exactly in the usual PT audience demographic.
As it turned out, I’m pretty sure everyone over the age of 30 gathered in the Giant Squid tent and once all the kids had got bored and left, and frontman Bruce Soord had rewired the PA and battled the technical gremlins, we were treated to Pineapple Thief doing what they do best. I think the rest of the team were unconvinced, but I really enjoyed the show.
The next port of call was the main Big Gin stage for Dolomite Minor, a band who consisted of what appeared to be two 15 year old boys. There’s always something slightly sickening about seeing youngsters with this much talent, considering there were only the two of them they filled the space with a big, fuzzed out blues rock sound that belied their tender years.
I was tempted to stay down by the main stage as the rain of the previous couple of days had ceased and things were starting to dry out a bit.. which just meant that if you stood still for too long you found yourself getting glued to the ground. Still, at least it wasn’t raining.
Wandering around the site in search of the next musical delight, our attention was caught by the unmistakable sound of riffs, great, big riffs coming from the Giant Squid stage (we seemed to spend a lot of time in there). In this case the riffs were being purveyed by Hemel Hempstead’s other finest musical export Scholars, a band blessed with one of the best frontmen of the weekend in Sam Nicholls.
After the Scholars had done their thing I headed off in search of more exotic meat burgers but, horror of horrors, the van wasn’t there. Taking this as a sign that I should have something more healthy I went for a good, wholesome baked potato.
It was rank.
Anyway, enough culinary diversions, on with the music. To be fair the Scholars would have been a hard act to follow, so it’s a good job that there was a big name rock’n’roll band on the main stage to keep the vibe going. I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Temperance Movement, but this was the first opportunity to see them live.
There is something of a glut of “classic” leaning rock bands on the go at the moment, but on the basis of this performance it was easy to see why TTM are heralded as the best of the bunch.
Nothing like a decent slice of old fashioned feel-good rock’n’roll, and yes, I now get what everyone has been banging on about… TTM are the best at what they do.
While the other members of them CB headed off to find some hay to lie in, I wandered back to The Allotment stage where the old school atmosphere was continued. I must admit that I am partial to a little bit of blues from time to time, and at Y Not it didn’t get any bluesier than local lads Three Minute Heist. With the sort of effortless easy sound that seems to never get old and, with the only harmonica-ist of the weekend, Three Minute Heist provided one of the highlights of the day.
Unfortunately, they also seem to have summoned the rain gods, and our hopes of it staying dry were dashed by the first little downpour of the day.
I bought a fleece lined poncho, that’s how metal I am. May have looked a bit silly but it did the job. And it kept the rain off so I could get down the front for what turned out to be the highlight of the weekend.
The “go see the bands with unusual names” rule meant that there was nowhere else to be other than the main stage for King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys. Now I had absolutely no idea what to expect here, but I certainly didn’t expect the array of characters who showed up on stage. Drums, Guitar and Keyboards I would have put money on, but a double bass.. and not one but two saxophones.. was this.. going to be.. Jazz ???
I guess the other clue was the rather dapper matching blue suits.
King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys are a “proper” Jazz band, close your eyes and you could be in prohibition era Mississippi, listening to the genre’s greats. Now I’m no expert on Jazz at all but I am an expert on watching people having fun, and there was not another band I saw that got the crowd going like this. King Pleasure has a voice like silken gravel, the way you imagine all Jazzmen should sound while double bassist Shark Van Schtoop must have been just about the most entertaining (and photographed) musician on the main stage all weekend.
How good were they ? Well I had to go and drag Chantelle out of the hay in the Mash and Barrel to come see them. Standing at the back watching the whole crowd doing that “point at the sky, point at the ground” dance was one of the moments of the weekend. Brilliant, I loved em, and it wasn’t just me.. At the end of their set no one was going anywhere until the demanded encore was delivered.
The first in this double header of familiarity were the always impressive instrumental-rockers Maybeshewill, who for the first time had the tent packed to capacity with people standing outside straining to see what was going on. Given the quality of what they do, and the vast swathe of the musical landscape it appeals to, it’s a mystery how these guys aren’t much better known. I’d say they should have definitely been on the main stage instead of We Were Promised Jetpacks (who we briefly watched from afar).
The next band on were just born to play a rammed, noisy, sweaty, dark little tent. If you take punk, metal, violence and humour and mix them together the result would be something like Wet Nuns. Whether it’s Guitarist Rob crowdsurfing (and giving the security lady a heart attack) or Drummer Alexis going for one of his frequent wanders around the stage, Wet Nuns are entertainment… Pure JD swigging, anarchic, chaotic, noisy entertainment.
Oooh, did I say two bands in a row we’d heard of ?? I meant three…
At almost all festivals there is one band in particular that make you think “why on earth are you here and not on a bigger stage ??”. Long before Electric Six came on The Quarry tent was rammed to capacity (not just because it was pissing down by this point), with people passing the time by battering beach balls backwards and forwards. It was slightly disappointing that we were only allowed to photograph the first song though. I mean they’re not exactly known for their 10 minute epics, but they do have some 2 minute epics though. Their best known songs like Danger! High Voltage and (particularly) Gay Bar got a response that was matched by little else across the whole weekend. I think Electric Six must be just about the ultimate party band…
While the rest of the gang stayed in the tent, I battled out through the rammed crowd to get back down to the main stage to photograph The Enemy. Now to me they seemed to be pretty predictable Indie rock, but judging by the number of people who were braving the elements to watch them they do have a big fanbase. Unfortunately by this point, wet and miserable wondering if my camera would survive the deluge, my answer to Tom Clarke’s shout of “Do we give a fuck about this weather ??” was “Yes, yes Tom I do”.
The UTTER FUCKTARD who threw the flare into the photo pit (I assume he was aiming for the stage) was the icing on the cake for me though. Top marks to the security (sorry, I mean crowd safety) team, they spotted him and, with surgical efficiency, extracted him from the crowd and called the police to come collect the moron.
Actually, credit where it’s due. The guys from Vespasian Crowd Safety had done a sterling job all weekend. Can’t be easy to keep everyone safe at an event like Y Not, but they managed it with constant good cheer.
Having had enough of getting wet and haven taken artillery fire from the crowd, I decided enough was enough and headed for home, leaving Chantelle to wrap up the days events…
Finally the time had come. The moment everyone at the festival had been waiting for… A MUD SLIDING COMPETITION! Yes, you read right. As it was the final day, people seemed to have stopped caring about keeping clean and the crowd cleared a space to let the filthy competition commence. Team CackBlabbath weren’t quite cool enough to join in, but we did get some rather good photographs of the hilarity and that was enough for us.
Covered in mud splashes we fought our way to the front of the crowd to await what would fast become one of the highlights of our weekend. The Darkness. I’ll admit I was dubious about how good these guys would be but I’m glad to say I was proved wrong! The Darkness are and will always be a novelty band, but why does that have to be a bad thing? They delivered party rock and roll which fired on all cylinders and the crowd were loving it… which front man, Justin Hawkins didn’t seem to realise at first. After many sarcastic comments about the “high tech” video screen displaying their “no expense spared” logo (which lead nicely into the slightly adapted, ‘Get Your Hands Off Of My *Woman.’ *Logo) he then complained about the lack of audience reaction. I’m not entirely sure what he was expecting, from what I could see people were bouncing and singing along and, apart from the one twat who through a flare onto the stage, everyone was having a great time.
They played a set full of all the hits you would expect from The Darkness, their second to last track being the mighty ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (which they refused to play until the crowd showed them some ‘Pre-emptive bouncing’). The best part of the set though by far was the finale during which, Justin Hawkins, bassist Frankie Poullain and guitarist Dan Hawkins got onto the backs of three security guards and made their way into the centre of the crowd where they then crowd surfed the whole way back to the front. This was an amazing sight to see as the crowd mauled and reached towards the three rockers. Say what you want about this band, they still know how to put on a show and even while having a slight strop, Justin Hawkins proved himself to be one hell of a front man.