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Y Not 2017

Festival (28/07/17 - 30/07/17)

Derbyshire, UK
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

Set in the rural countryside of Derbyshire in the UK, Y Not is a uniquely situated and diverse festival. Now in its twelfth year, the festival offers an array of musical acts spanning multiple genres from mainstream pop, to dance, rap, acoustic and heavy alternative bands, and its past success led to Broadwick Live acquiring the festival at the end of 2016, as part of its expanding festival business.

In previous years, Y Not has enjoyed the benefits of its end-of-July calendar slot, which has traditionally bathed the Derbyshire hillsides with glorious sunshine. This year however, the weather has taken an ugly turn, and the new owners struggle to deal with the adverse conditions. As well as the weather, the organisers have attempted a new layout, mainly related to the camping areas, and as we sit for 2 hours queuing in traffic to enter the festival grounds, teething problems are already showing. 

Due to the traffic, we’re still on the road outside the festival while Bad Sign perform. It’s a shame to miss the band, who were excellent at this year’s 2000 Trees festival, but at least they were able to play. On entry to the festival, we’re greeting by signs on the Main Stage advising that acts are temporarily cancelled due to rain-related safety issues, the open-fronted stage having no barrier to stop rain pouring onto the electrical equipment. Reports of performances being cancelled continue throughout the day as the rain shows no sign of stopping.

Luckily, we’ve come for the alternative bands, and under the tented shelter of The Giant Squid, the show goes on. Though the rain certainly doesn’t delight the punters, it works in SHVPES’ favour, as people pour into the tent for shelter. The screamed vocals and heavy riffs certainly give a different vibe to the pop artists performing on the other stages, but those in the tent don’t seem to mind. It helps when your execution is spot on and that’s exactly what SHVPES manage.

It’s a sign of an excellent band when you can endure technical difficulties on stage with no impact on performance and Grumble Bee tick that box. The trio may well be struggling to hear themselves on stage, but front of house things sound perfect, Jack Bennett’s heartfelt voice pristine and powerful against the punchy instrumentals. Grumble Bee keep going from strength to strength with every performance and with new singles “Red” and “Bravest Soul” sounding huge, we’re excited for more new material in the not-too distant future.

Vukovi are one of the tightest acts of the bill, the band flowing in complete unison throughout their set. Their brand of alt-rock is ideal for a festival; the pop hooks and up-tempo rhythms make for an easy listen and there are plenty of heads bobbing and feet tapping in approval. Midway through the set songs do start to feel recycled, but it’s fun and enjoyable and brings some much needed sunshine to combat the quagmire forming outside the tent.

When you see Heck on a line-up you know that at the very least you’ll be entertained; the band have built a reputation on their unconstrained performances and this is no exception. Half an hour before Heck are due to play, guitarist/vocalists Matt Reynolds and Jonny Hall are side-of-stage surveying the tent, checking out their boundaries. More than once their eyes set on the two scaffolding poles holding up the tent and sure enough midway through the set, Reynolds starts to climb one, much to the dismay of the security staff. Between Hall and Reynolds walking across the bar, stage diving and starting circle pits in the mud outside the tent, there’s a solid backbone of loud, in-your-face hardcore that’s somehow always brilliantly executed no matter how insane the performance.

Roam have the songs to be a popular festival band and their catchy pop punk should be a bit here, but the execution is too sloppy to fully captivate the crowd. Front-man Alex Costello is entertaining with his backflips and general high energy, but it’s not until the second half of the set that his vocals settle and start to produce. It’s strange to see the rest of the band largely static and not sharing Costello’s energy, making this performance a bad day at the office for the Eastbourne quintet.

In contrast, Young Guns’ alt-rock can be too middle-of-the-road to hold a festival crowd’s attention for a long set, but when you have the confidence and energy on stage to back it up, the crowd can easily warm up. For Y Not festival-goers, Young Guns are an ideal choice; their more recent material is more in-line with the mainstream rock acts across the rest of festival and as such, their set goes down as well. 

Although the mood inside The Giant Squid is positive, outside there are plenty of people suffering. A quick check of social media reveals complaints of wide-spread thefts in the campsites, burst water pipes restricting access to clean water, unclean toilets and no hay being laid out on paths to soak up the mounting rivers of mud. Y Not festival has been a safe haven for families to enjoy the festival experience in the past, something that differentiates it from mainstream festivals and makes it unique, so it’s even more distressing to read about a lack of security measures to prevent the general public being able to set up camp in the family camping areas, putting children in an unsafe environment.

After a day of torrential rain on the Friday, the site’s fields are churned to mud making it difficult for vehicles to enter or exit the site. With continued bad weather not helping the situation, on Sunday morning the festival has to be cancelled, the safe exit of all guests from the site becoming a primary concern. With the help of local tow trucks and helpers, Sunday’s itinerary is sadly filled with rescuing cars from waterlogged fields rather than enjoying live music. 

Over the past eleven years, Y Not has been a hugely successful and enjoyable festival, making 2017 a definite exception rather than the rule. Though the adverse weather has been an unwelcome guest for new owners Broadwick Live to contend with, it has masked other issues that can’t be solely attributed to the rain. Festivals can function in the rain and mud, as any veteran of Glastonbury or Download Festival will tell you, but it requires solid contingency planning and infrastructure to do so, particularly in upholding high standards of security and safety across the event at all times. As an ever-expanding festival company, Broadwick Live have enough tenure and experience to repair Y Not‘s reputation in the future, but if a repeat of this year’s experience is allowed to happen, it could mean a sad end for this otherwise popular festival.

Louise Distras On Kerrang! 30th Birthday Tribute To Green Day LP

k-green-day-dec-16British firebrand singer songwriter Louise Distras is a part of Kerrang! Magazine’s 30th birthday tribute album to Green Day. American Superhits is out today and available with this weeks issue of Kerrang! Louise Distras had this to say about her appearance on American Superhits

I chose ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’ because it’s one of my favourite tracks from ‘Nimrod’. It’s a classic Green Day track that got me through being bullied at high school, so me and my band decided to keep our cover original and fun. Green Day’s music is a big inspiration to me and I’m honoured to be a part of their 30th birthday tribute!

The CD also features Waterparks, Roam, Beach Slang, Andy Black,  As It Is, Hellions, Milk Teeth, Puppy, The Interrupters, The Xcerts, Candy Hearts, With Confidence and Twin Atlantic

Slam Dunk - Grumble Bee

Slam Dunk Festival 2016

FESTIVAL (28/05/16)

Leeds, UK
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Slam Dunk Festival and some old friends of the punk and alternative scene came out to help celebrate the occasion. With such veterans as The King Blues, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Panic! at the Disco and [spunge] mixing with the fresh talents of Creeper, Issues and Moose Blood, this year’s line-up boasted a wide range of diversity and with such a wide-reaching appeal, it’s no wonder that the festival’s three dates sold out.

Australian four-piece With Confidence opened the Fresh Blood Stage with an assured and confident set of upbeat pop-punk songs, taken mainly from the band’s upcoming album Better Weather. Lead single “Keeper” gets the crowd warmed up with its infectious chorus and the full-spirited audience participation gives enough assurance that we’ll be seeing more from this band in the future. They’d do well to study the rise of Roam, who took their refined brand of pop-punk to the larger surroundings of the Key Club Stage this year, having occupied a smaller stage and crowd last year. Roam played the best of their most recent release Headrush and the live environment gives the songs more life and character than the slightly stagnated studio recordings. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable set filled with the band’s characteristic level of energy and leaves me wanting to give Headrush another try.

Another of the day’s Australian acts, Northlane threatened to crack the road that lay beneath the Atlas Stage with one of the heaviest sets of the day. Most recent album Node divided fans with its melodic, ambient direction compared to the band’s hardcore roots, but to prove they haven’t gone soft, the band threw their heaviest material at the crowd. Vocalist Marcus Bridge more than holds his own with brutal screams that are every bit as impressive as the technical instrumentation behind him. The Atlas Stage also played host to Issues, who tested their latest nu-metal/post-hardcore/R&B infused anthems on the crowd. New record Headspace is refined and accomplished and the crowd react well to the funk-infused bass lines, heavy guitar riffs and Tyler Carter’s ever impressive, note-perfect delivery.

Grumble Bee provided an opportunity for a break from the heavy acts of the day with a series of acoustic songs, although the superb delivery was no less intense than any of the full band performances. Jack Bennett, the multi-instrumentalist behind Grumble Bee, showcased stripped-down songs from his Disconnect EP and as an expressive and emotive performer, the environment suited him perfectly. The atmosphere couldn’t have been any different for Everytime I Die, who closed the Impericon Stage with the kind of ferocious, energetic and brutal performance that they’ve become renowned for. Every festival needs a closing act like Everytime I Die as theirs is the type of performance that you don’t forget in a hurry.

Unfortunately some acts had to be struck off the itinerary through the day as queues to enter the indoor venues became unmanageable. Crowd management is a vital part of festival safety and that should never be compromised, but it’s still disappointing to miss bands due to capacities being reached. It’s worth noting for future years that it may not always be possible to see every band you’re planning to, particularly if you’re heading to the indoor stages. This year, more so than others, the area inside the Leeds city centre site felt cramped and claustrophobic, particularly outside the Key Club Stage, where the exiting crowds had no choice but to merge with the spectators of the Atlas Stage, creating a mass of people unable to move, or unaware of how to avoid the problem.

The swelling crowds are testament to the success and reputation of the festival over the past ten years and despite the pockets of cramped conditions, this year was another success. With such a varied and impressive line-up there was plenty to enjoy and the packed line-up certainly delivered on their side of the deal.

Photo credit: Paris de la Moitié

 

Video: ROAM – ‘Tracks’

ROAMUK pop-punk act ROAM have released a video for “Tracks”, taken from their recent debut album Backbone, released through Hopeless Records. ROAM are currently supporting Against the Current on a tour across Europe.

Check out “Tracks” below.

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ROAM Stream New Track ‘Bloodline’

ROAMUK pop-punks ROAM are streaming Bloodline, a track taken from their upcoming LP Backbone, which is due for release on January 22, 2015 via Hopeless Records. The band are also on the bill for the 2016 Kerrang! UK Tour, which kicks off in February with Sum 41 headlining and also featuring Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Biters. 

Check out the stream of Bloodline and the details for the Kerrang! Tour 2016 below.

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ROAM Announce Debut LP; Premiere Music Video

ROAMUK pop-punks ROAM have officially announced details for their debut LP.  The disc will be titled Backbone and will be released on January 22, 2015 via Hopeless Records. Coinciding with the announcement, the band has also released a new song and music video for “Deadweight”, which can be heard below. 

Matt Wilson of Set Your Goals provides guest vocals for the track and also plays a cameo role in the video.  Backbone is the follow up to ROAM’s ‘Viewpoint’ EP, which was released earlier in 2015.

Tours: Handguns / ROAM

HandgunsBaltimore pop-punk band Handguns has announced that they will be hitting the road this Fall alongside UK band ROAM.  Handguns are currently reading their followup to 2014’s Life Lessons, which is expected to drop sometime later this year.
 
Full tour dates are below.

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State Champs Announce Support for Autumn UK Tour

state-champs2Albany, NY pop punks State Champs have announced that the support for their upcoming UK tour will come from Illinois punks Knuckle Puck and UK pop punks Roam. State Champs are currently working on their follow up to their debut LP The Finer Things, released back in 2013 via Pure Noise Records.

Check out the full list of tour dates below.

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ROAM Stream New EP

ROAMUK pop punks ROAM are streaming their upcoming new EP, Viewpoint, which will drop on January 27, 2015 via Hopeless Records. The EP will be released digitally, on vinyl and  follows their Warning Sign single, released back in November. 

Listen to the full EP here.

Pre orders for Viewpoint are available here (vinyl), here (digital), and you can check out the band’s upcoming shows below.

ROAM – Over Your Head

ROAMUK pop punks ROAM are streaming a brand new tune.  The track is titled “Over Your Head” and is set to appear on their upcoming new EP, Viewpoint, which will drop on January 26, 2015 via Hopeless Records. The EP will be released digitally, on vinyl and  follows their Warning Sign single, released back in November. 

Listen here courtesy AltPress.

Pre orders for Viewpoint are available here (vinyl), here (digital), and you can check out the band’s upcoming shows below.

ROAM Annouce New EP, UK Shows

ROAMUK pop punks ROAM have announced that their new EP, Viewpoint will drop on January 26th via Hopeless Records. The EP will be released digitally, on vinyl and  follows their Warning Sign single, released back in November. 

Pre orders for Viewpoint are available here (vinyl), here (digital), and you can check out the band’s upcoming shows below.

Read More…

Me Vs Hero Launch App to Promote New Album / Announce Tour

Blackpool, UK pop punk band Me Vs Hero have taken a slightly different approach to promote their upcoming new record I’m Completely Fine, due to drop on September 1st via Banquet Records. The band have launched a game, available on iTunes and the Google Play Store, which as you complete a level, released another album track for preview. As you complete the game, the entire album will be available for streaming.

The band are also embarking on an autumn headlining tour, supported by fellow UK punks ROAM. Full dates available below.

Read More…

Roam Stream New EP

ROAMPop-punkers Roam are steaming their brand new EP.  The EP is titled Head Down and dropped yesterday via Pinky Swear Records.

Listen to the full EP here.

Roam Detail New EP

ROAMPop-punk newcomers Roam have announced details for a brand new EP.  The EP will be titled Head Down and is due out on November 18, 2013 via Pink y Swear Records.  Guitarist/vocalist Alex Adam expresses the band’s sentiments:

“Since we put out ‘Common Ground’ we’ve been continually writing, trying out new songs live and changing parts until we felt the new songs were what we wanted… Head Down is a collection of the best of those songs. We put a lot into them, and we think it shows.”

The album comes a short year after 2012 mini album, No Common Ground.