Live Review: Y Not Festival 2015 – Pikehall, Derbyshire

Has it really been a year since Vulture Hound last pitched up in the middle of the Peak District for Y Not Festival? It would seem so, because this year we were on hand to catch the 10th anniversary of the only festival to be at during the first weekend of August. With this years headliners including Snoop Dogg, Basement Jaxx and Primal Scream, it was always going to be a party atmosphere.

Those who headed down to Y Not on Thursday night were treated by an early bird of special of Brit Rockers Ash smashing out some of their ‘old skool’ hits which went down well with the packed out Quarry stage.

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For those who didn’t arrive on Thursday, the weekends events officially began on Friday afternoon and for Vulture Hound was a nice relaxing sit in front of the Main Stage to watch Black Honey (who also happened to be camp neighbours, forever in our debt for lending them ketchup). The female fronted rockers battle through some early technical issues to put in a solid set, gaining a solid response from the growing early afternoon crowd.

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2014 was all about the Giant Squid Stage, and this year was no exception with our first taste of Squid coming on behalf of WOAHNOWS who brought a level of energy that many in the tent possibly weren’t expecting. The Indie Punk trio have a definite sound, that makes them stand out from the crowd offering something that has been missing from the Indie scene for a long while.

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There is in some circles a stigma attached to instrumental bands as being slightly pretentious, with instrumental bands possibly not being taken as seriously as they should. Axes are a band who have a chance of breaking through this stigma, made up of musicians from across the globe (Essex, Scotland, Iran and Denmark) Axes have the potential to create something in instrumental music but for that to happen they need to be given chances such as Y Not Festival to bring them to peoples attention.

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Slaves in recent months have been followed by a degree of controversy due to criticism from Sleaford Mods who have accused the band of ripping them off. If this is the case then the fans couldn’t give a shit! Putting in one of the most hardcore performances than the Main Stage has probably ever seen, they certainly managed to get the crowd moving finishing their powerful set shirtless and in the crowd.

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If Slaves are the antithesis of grimy dirty DIY rock music, then Young Guns are the polar opposite. Young Guns have a polished sound and a look that at times doesn’t feel organic, and feels almost as if it were created in a lab where the aim was to make a rock band capable of selling a million records. That isn’t to say that Young Guns aren’t a massively capable band and they have a loyal (screaming) fan base, but there is a level of disconnect for people not familiar with their music and sound.

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Festivals such as Y Not offer music fans the chance to take in and embrace all styles and sounds of music, and as such Rag ‘n’ Bone Man was an attempt to broaden musical horizons, and it would certainly be very hard to dismiss the massive talents of said Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. The soulful hip hop and funk infused tracks were a nice sound to break the day of guitar laden Rock and Indie acts.DSC_0021

Brawlers were always high on the list of bands that Vulture Hound wanted to see at Y Not. Having caught them earlier in the year at Hit the Deck festival, we knew what we were getting ourselves into and Brawlers delivered- and then some. Brawlers are a band that don’t have time for dicking around, every track is fast paced and to the point Punk, but with catchy pop driven lyrics. Brawlers are arguably one of the next big things in the UK scene, just waiting for the world to catch on to their huge talent and when the touch paper is finally lit in will be an inferno.

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Filling the same spot as Reel Big Fish the previous year, Less Than Jake bring the Ska to close out day one on the Quarry stage. Less Than Jake have been in this game for years, they are consummate professionals who will without fail bring the party and get people going crazy. Churning out classic after classic, if you were standing in the Quarry tent and not dancing, then there is something wrong with you.

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The days main event was the ‘Dogfather’ himself the one and only Snoop Dogg! Yes he was fifteen minutes late, yes he only played a forty-five minute set, but he did exactly what you’d expect Snoop Dogg to do, make you party like it was nineteen ninety-five ! churning out a back-catalogue of tracks even the modest Snoop observer was bound to be rapping along to )even including a quick sing along to Katy Perry!) The set was brought to a close with Snoop advising the crowd to “smoke weed everyday” before leaving the stage to a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’.

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SATURDAY

For those who had spent Friday partying a little, the neon clad form of nineties TV legend Mr Motivator offered an early morning workout on the Main Stage to shake off those groggy morning cobwebs. Of all the weekends acts ‘the Motivator’ drew one of the biggest and most interactive crowds of the weekend, even encouraging those VIPs standing side of stage to join in with the morning work-out.

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Following the morning workout the first band we checked out were the band formally known as Cyota, Birmingham based Metal-corers Shvpes, who continue the trend of using a letter ‘v’ as a replacement for another letter. Despite the early nature of the set they managed to bring a sizeable crowd into the tent who seemed to enjoy their melodic metal-core songs.

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Allusondrugs are another of those bands on the verge of exploding into something huge, they have captured that mid-nineties Seattle sound and created their own take on that grungy rock music. Support slots with Marmozets and Enter Shikari in the last twelve months have only helped to develop the bands music, and with on a stage style that has always been energetic and original they really are something special. There will be big things to come from Allusondrugs, just wait for people to catch on.

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Y Not festival’s Allotment stage offers local and emerging talent to catch the eye (or ear) of those in attendance. Nottingham and Derby based Eva Plays Dead were one of the bands to be given that chance to play in front of the crowds. Drawing a large crowd into the increased capacity Allotment stage, Eva Plays Dead made a solid effort of showing why they were selected to play the festival.

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One band instantly standing out from a largely Indie fuelled line-up was Fearless Vampire Killers, who brought their new wave of goth. FVK have created a whole world for themselves and their fans, which could arguably alienate a festival crowd, but despite this FVK pulled a large number of people into the smoke filled Giant Squid tent, and they rocked it.

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One of the days stand out Main Stage bands were Deaf Havana, who brought their alternative rock sounds to Y Not before (one assumes) gearing up for a return to the recording studio to follow up their last album ‘Old Souls.’ Front-man James Veck-Gilodi is one of those enigmatic front-men that can draw you in seemingly without any effort at all, and their tunes are those that you didn’t even realise you knew and loved.

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Having signed to Easy Life/Sony Red earlier in the week, there was a level of buzz (amongst press at least) for Arcane Roots, who did not disappoint. Arcane Roots carry a level of sophistication and class, whilst pulling everything together with heavy harmonic riffs. A cross between Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro, Arcane Roots are well on the way to being a fantastic and well renowned live band.

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Based on the recommendation of Allusondrugs, we headed to the Allotment stage again to see TRASH. Trash hark back to a time when Indie bands ruled the world (well UK at least). They wont be to everybody’s taste, but it is clear that Trash are a band who know want they want to do and are heading in the right direction.

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The nights last band on The Quarry stage were American post-punk band We Are Scientists, who came to bring their unique sounds back to Y Not festival. It is no mean feat to fill the festivals second stage, but We Are Scientests managed it with people having to watch from outside of the tent. They seemed to enjoy every moment on that stage, and the band have a lovely rapport, and the audience fed off this and were eating up every second of their set.

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Headlining Saturdays Giant Squid line-up, Don Broco added to their successful year which has seen them headline the Kerrang! Tour, have several massive single releases and also draw one of the biggest crowds of Slam Dunk festival. Their brand of rock is one that creates such a party atmosphere that not a single member of the audience is able to keep still, with Don Broco offering the perfect set to finish the day off.

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SUNDAY

Excited for the last day of the festival, and some great acts ahead, we spent a good chunk of Sunday recovering from the first two Y Not days! Here is a summary of the best acts we did catch;

Zoax are fun incarnate. Lead singer Adam shuns the stage, preferring tussling around with the audience, whilst the rest of the band enjoy the extra stage space and trash around, slamming the axes and legs around like nobody’s business! To match their performance, their tunes are passionate, invigorating and honed- rare is it that you come across a vocalist that can pull of slick screamo and proper singing.DSC_0148 DSC_0175 DSC_0013

Rolo Tomassi are brilliant. Fucking crazy. But brilliant. The little smile that vocalist Eva gives the audience when she goes from demonic screaming to beautiful angelic singing- got laughs every time- she knows her Jekyll and Hyde act is kinda funny! But they’re so different, fun and interesting, gamer-core apparently, definitely a band to catch live.

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Indiana was a cute, chilled addition to the line up- bringing her Dido-esq Soulful Pop to the Quarry.

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We Are The Ocean are hard to define, they have a specific and recognisable sound but considering genre they’re just alternative rock. But within that, their music is emotion, it’s passion, it’s life and experience melted down and poured into their tracks. Leaving everything out on the stage they must walk off exhausted, the audience left mouths agape.

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Kagoule headlined the Allotment stage, and they are awesome. They have this grimey, laid back indie punk sound that is so infectious, and along with that they perform in this totally confident yet inward way, that the crowds were just drawn straight in. If you’ve never heard of them, go listen to personal favourite track “Gush”.

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Lower Than Atlantis are always a hit. They can just never fail. They come with this spunky- couldn’t really give a shit- attitude, the biggest hearts, the warmest smiles and the most delicious of tracks. They packed out the Giant Squid (why the fuck weren’t they put on a bigger stage?) with ease and the tent was literally rocking.

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Y Not is a magical festival. Instead of packing every inch of the arena and camping area, they only sold enough tickets to create a great atmosphere. You could actually move! You could enjoy wander around the stalls, and be sure you could get in to see every band that you wanted to. Because of that, it felt super friendly and relaxed, and the beautiful scenery can only have added to this. If you go to ONE festival next year, as a seasoned festival goer I’d recommend Y Not 2016 be it.

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