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Festival Coverage: Y-Not 2015 - Sunday

  • Published in Live

Though Sunday starts much like Saturday, an overcast gloom shrouding the festival site, the clouds soon dissipate and we find ourselves sticky with sun-cream and sweat and in front of the Main Stage early in order to catch Bedforshire's CC Smugglers, a six-piece band who make “original music from nostalgic influences”. They may not be our usual fare, and had we caught them in a different environment our opinions might be somewhat different, but for an opening, their swing/jazz/blues combination makes for a gentle beginning to the final day. That doesn't mean to say that the band lack any energy mind you, they clearly thrive on a sense of traditional band camaraderie, and though they're in no way unique, they're delightfully inoffensive and prove danceable enough to get a few pockets of the early crowd jiving.

Buzz-band Blossoms are next up, and following a hasty half hour taking down the tent we return to the Main Stage with the niggling feeling that reality soon beckons and work will rear its ugly head. Somewhat fitting then, that the band hail from our home-town and serve as an accidental reminder that there is a world outside of the festival bubble. A shame, really. Unfortunately whilst the band are one of Stockport's most-talked about acts, their set leaves something to be desired; elements of lite-psych are interspersed with '60s pop melodies and sleazy guitar lines, and whilst no-one can argue against their clear musicality, no-one can argue about their lack of originality, either.

Over to the Quarry for a final time this year, we catch the new iteration of Solemn Sun. Formerly known as Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun, the band gave their sound a make-over last year and have left behind their folky musings in favour of something heavier, darker and a hell of a lot different. Having seen the early iteration of the band support last year's headliner Frank Turner the change is immediately obvious, both in band and crowd. The folk punk of previous releases completely done away with, the set does feel a little flat after several tracks, but one can't begrudge a band for a change in direction and ultimately they'll probably fair better under this guise than their previous.

Back over at the Main Stage, Y-Not faithfuls King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys provide a much larger crowd with the day's second helping of swing, jazz and blues, keeping everyone dancing despite the heat, whilst neo-folk artist Rhodes brings the temperature back down with his chilly and atmospheric compositions.

As evening sets in, so does the heavy heart knowing full well this will be our last festival of the year, fortunately Augustines are on hand to boost spirits if only temporarily, and though their set feels somewhat short (six tracks in 45 minutes) tracks like 'Book of James' and 'Nothing to Lose But Your Head' seem as if they were written purely to be played tonight. Having seen the band previously, on an albeit much smaller stage, my expectations were raised fairly high, but with the band's most recent material seeing them foray in to the realms of stadium rock, it seems only fitting that they've graduated from a small tent at Leeds Festival to the much larger Main Stage here at Y-Not.

Arguably however, it's the double-header of Johnny Marr & Primal Scream that people have been most excited for over the weekend, and their heading of the final evening serves as reminder as to just how much organisers have pulled out all the stops for this year's tenth anniversary celebrations.

The former takes to the stage to huge applause, launching immediately in to 'The Right Thing Right' before the first Smiths cover of the evening appears in the form of 'Panic', and though the vocals might not be as unmistakable as Morrissey's, there's still something about Marr's that suit the jangle of guitar perfectly. Others come in the form of The Crickets' much-covered 'I Fought the Law' and Electronic's 'Getting Away With It', but it's the excellent closing track of 'There is A Light That Never Goes Out' that provides revellers with yet another classic festival moment.

With evening falling and everyone in high spirits, it's of little surprise that Primal Scream, like Basement Jaxx yesterday, perpetuate a party vibe that's difficult to shake off long after we've left. That said, their set is backboned by material from 2000s XTRMNTR, arguably the point the band's narratives became more politicised. Fitting then, given UK's current political climate but it's the likes of 'Rocks' and 'Country Girl' which provide the loudest sing-alongs of the day and perhaps even the festival, giving the most fair-weather fans something to dance to.

It's been eleven years since the first iteration of the festival, and ten years since it was opened to the public, and in that time it's progressed from an overspill of a house-party in to what is probably the UK's best small-to-medium sized festival. It may not have the same size headliners as the likes of Reading and Leeds or Glastonbury, but it has a special kind of allure that makes it feel both boutique and bigger than it actually is. And though you may not be familiar with every band you see, you can guarantee that you'll find at least one band you go home loving.

Until next time Y-Not, providing, of course, you'll still have us.


Augustines, Summerhall, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


It's the start of the Edinburgh Festival this month (the largest arts festival in the world in case you weren't already aware) and what better way to kick start the festivities than hearing the bone chilling anthemic sounds of indie-rock sensations, Augustines.

Summerhall is lit up in twilight, setting up the mood for support act Adam Stafford who comes on stage with his own rendition of mesmerising, atmospheric acoustic folk. Gearing up the already filling crowd, Stafford puts on a very hypnotic show whilst some of the brash Scots cheer on the Falkirk born musician. 

The venue is now getting very close and personal for the main event with the place jam packed in minutes. Cue the switch off of the lights, Summerhall is dark and the crowd are sent into an immediate frenzy once they see the Brooklyn trio making their way on stage and diving straight into the first track, 'Headlong Into The Abyss'. 

Showing off his vocal skills, lead man Billy McCarthy is not in any way shy and belts out the lyrics making sure we all know what's in store. The crowd are pumped with their smart phones to hand snapping and videoing glimpses of this energetic set. Even with some of the much slower tracks like 'Now You Are Free', the trio still manage to put as much energy into it and keep the crowd happy. It starts with that anthemic build up on the piano and leads into some serious power guitar riffs and vocals, so much that the crowd are pumped and chanting along. Not something unusual for an Augustines set. 

If you are new to the Augustines, then it doesn't really matter as each gig is so emotionally exhausting you'll be very much invested with the guys by the fourth track. 

Other songs played early on were the bone chilling 'Chapel Song', crowd bating 'Ballad Of A Patient Man', sanctified 'Augustine' and the emotional feelings of 'Juarez'. A perfect mix of classic Augustines. This then lead into the guys blethering with the crowd and getting the Scots vote with the usual Scottish banter, from fried Mars bars to Saltires. If the crowd weren't already pumped enough, this got them going full throttle.

Later songs came from the band's second LP Augustines as well as "oldy" crowd favourite 'Book Of James'. By this point the guys are dripping with sweat, especially McCarthy who has been right into the thick of the music from the start. But it's not all McCarthy's energy that comes out on stage, guitarist Eric Sanderson runs about like he's on fire so much it's a hit and miss to see him. 

Now it's time for the first of tonight's encores. Typical Augustine style to milk the encore but who cares when the fans want it. 'Weary Eyes' is a personal favourite, and after McCarthy pondering on what they'll play next he settles on an acoustic version to which everyone is singing along. This is the pivotal point and 'The Avenue' and 'New Drink For the Old Drunk' are the way to go out ... For the third time. Suddenly it's only drummer Rob Allen on stage readying up the crowd before he disappears and ends up on the balcony with the other two, milking it for all it's worth. The trio head out with a room full of blissfully happy fans cheering them on. 

If you're in two minds about these guys, don't be. New or old fans, you don't want to miss a night out with Augustines. They make you feel alive and in the moment. They take away your inhibitions and for those couple of hours in time you feel more alive than ever. 

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