Y-Not Festival

The Y Not Festival 2013

By George Mander

The festival, as a whole, was delightful, the setting was incredible – with some very interesting old industrial architecture  – settled in the small picturesque villages in the surrounding area.
So, before I had even arrived, the mood for the weekend was set. A large range of welcoming faces were there to greet me. As this was the first time that I’d ever reviewed Y Not, or indeed any festival,  I was a bit nervous on arrival.
But,  all the staff were more than helpful and friendly. The layout of the festival was very well thought out,  with all stages very easy to locate but what was more interesting were the ‘secret’ routes that were available to take to different areas of the site, if you found them!
A fine and very reasonably price selection of food and ale were on offer as well. After my first taste of a Zebra burger, washed down by a locally brewed cider,  I went to see the first band of the weekend on the main stage,  The Dexters.
The Dexters were immediately likeable;  they had the kind of charisma that made you happy to tap your foot along and get involved, a loud but welcoming presence.
The sun was shining and with the sharp changes between song sections nailed to a tee they had the same ‘Driving Song’ quality as the best of them. The Strokes being a clear influence. Listen to ‘Recovery’ and I will challenge you to deny a Albert Hammond jr,  influence.
All in all, a very pleasing-to-listen-to indie band that may well be able to take the place of acts such as the Courteeners (as they are move on towards more electro pop),  the Dexters have a great guitar base to build commercial success on.
Whiskey Stain  were the highlight of my Friday, although only catching the tail end of their set,  they had my attention from the word go. Two men on stage, one playing drums while the other manned the electric guitar, although I am informed that they usually use a bass to create a drum and base MASSIVE sound.
At the press meet-and-greet,  they handed me what I thought was a 7″ Vinyl but as I observed the front cover it read “We are Whiskey Stain, we play blues drenched indie” … “This is not a Vinyl.”  It wasn’t, but that is the type of humour and playful behaviour that is refreshing to see in new music. I definitely recommend you check out ‘I can’t be your love.’
I woke up to Saturday’s music a bit worse for wear,  so decided to break myself into the noise gradually by going to the Hog and Barrell tent,  to listen to a Derbyshire (although you would of guessed France) based band called HAIKUSALUT.
I stood there for roughly 10 mins trying to work out what was going on –  there were three women on stage, without a single lyric, keeping the attention of everyone, the music they played using their, laptops, accordions and ukuleles,  mearly keeping the minds of the tent occupants ticking over, just.
The use of looping and laptops in conjunction with accordions made me feel as though I had fallen from my Nokia’s polyphonic ringtone into the french resistance, all in all a strange and wonderful experience, maybe not a band that will ever be a household name but if they come to town be sure to see them!
I saw  a band called ALASKAN FACTION.  I didn’t like them that much, felt it had all been done before and nothing stood out, quite easy listening though. Reminded me of Violet Cities.
The video is a good representation of the whole festival so may be worth sharing.  
The next band I watched were FICTION.  The first thing I thought about fiction was that they all seemed genuinely happy to be there. They performed to a relatively subdued crowd but by the end of their set everybody was involved.  Interesting use of keyboards added to a very happy vibe. They reminded me very much of Metronomy and their song ‘Be Clear’ won my vote with its stop-starty bass line. Interesting, an alternative to the alternative.
Now for the highlight of my weekend, DRENGE.  Both band members are still in their teens but seriously I haven’t seen a couple of cooler brothers. Again just a drum and guitar duo but that is due too their huge stage presences taking up the rest of the stage.
They were kicking out sounds bigger, badder and scarier that the Black Keys, they had the frantic-ness of Jack white and the attitude of a 1001 punks, there’s not much more to say apart from when the Loveless Brothers exit the stage without saying a thank you or goodbye I knew they meant business. If you don’t check these out, you’ll hear from them soon. Amazing! Check out ‘Backwaters’
George Mander was the lead singer for the band Mondigreen.

See also:

for a full list of all the festivals we have covered this year.