All Points East is once again taking over Victoria Park in London for a series of huge shows and community activities. The event which debuted in 2018 has brought some of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world to London over the years, and this year will include performances from The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Tame Impala, The National, Disclosure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Night one plays host to iconic ensemble Gorillaz, but first fans have to battle transport issues created by strikes affecting buses, overground, underground trains. Coldplay’s show tonight at Wembley Stadium is postponed to support fan attendance, but All Points East decide to press ahead with little acknowledgement of the issues.
Almost certainly some fans will have thought twice about the journey, however as we arrive at the festival site around dinner time it is clear that many thousands have managed to navigate the issues. Attendance today is far from full, however is far greater than we perhaps expected given the challenges.
This is a highly corporate festival and this comes across in the atmosphere. There are plenty of music fans in attendance but also more than enough people clearly just looking for a very expensive place to drink in the sun with their friends! With only cans of beer available from most bars, I’d suggest a 24 pack from the supermarket, a decent stereo and a garden would’ve been a better option for some.
Watch ‘Kerosene!’ from Yves Tumor on Youtube
Upon arrival we force ourselves through the picnic benches and corporate sponsors to the ‘West’ Stage where Yves Tumor is strutting their stuff much to either the delight or bemusement of those in attendance. Tumor’s eccentric electronic rock is a great way to get into the festival spirit and helps to remind us that we are actually here for some live music!
There are many stages of varying sizes at All Points East, but for tonight we need to dart between the two main stages. These are at opposite ends of the site, but we are able to get between them in under five minutes with the utilisation of a power walk.
Watch ‘TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION’ from Turnstile on Youtube
It’s therefore to the ‘East’ stage next for us and American hardcore punks Turnstile. This is a group making noise both literally and figuratively with latest album, ‘Glow On’, bringing new eyes and bigger audiences for the band.
The critical acclaim achieved by ‘Glow On’ has certainly helped the band grow, but their live shows have ensured that once you take a look at them, you don’t want to look away. Today the band feel at home on the big stage and their performance is once again captivating and engaging.
The setlist is dominated by ‘Glow On’ tonight which is no surprise, and once their time is finished fans are left in awe of what they have just witnessed. So would we be if we didn’t now need to race back to the ‘West’ stage for another incredible live act, IDLES!
Watch ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ from IDLES on Youtube
IDLES are one of the most visceral and enthralling acts to emerge in the last decade. Four stunning albums into what promises to be a legendary career, the band attract a big crowd to the far end of the festival site.
It’s also an impassioned crowd as they let go with their heroes to the likes of ‘Mother’, ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, ‘A Hymn’ and ‘The Wheel’. IDLES are a force of nature once they hit the stage and they somehow manage to make an enormous corporate field feel like a tiny little club show.
Their performance tonight is headline quality with closing duo ‘Danny Nedelko’ and ‘Rottweiler’ eliciting a rapturous response from the crowd. The connection between IDLES and their fans is a beautiful thing to witness and surely soon enough they will be the final act of these sized events.
It’s a hard thing for any act to follow IDLES, but that is exactly what Gorillaz must do next. Thankfully for them they are the brainchild of Damon Albarn who has a natural ability to control a festival crowd.
Albarn is joined in Gorillaz by a collection of extremely talented musicians who together bring the vision to life. For over twenty years now the music of Gorillaz has pushed boundaries, experimented and brought together collaborators from all walks of musical life. Tonight the group showcase this to an expectant All Points East audience starting with ‘M1 A1’ and ‘Last Living Souls’.
The overall setlist tonight is heavy on the ‘Demon Days’ and ‘Plastic Beach’ albums, but it is a career-spanning set with early favourite ’19-2000’ arriving early in the show.
As you’d probably expect the bigger hits elicit the biggest reactions today, perhaps more noticeably so with this cosmopolitan crowd. Another influence on the crowd reaction measuring scale is the plethora of special guests that Gorillaz are able to bring out. The biggest surprise comes with Tame Impala joining Gorillaz and Bootie Brown on new song ‘New Gold’.
We are also treated to Shaun Ryder and Rowetta on ‘DARE’, Paul Simonon on ‘Plastic Beach’ and De La Soul on ‘Feel Good Inc’, not to mention appearances from Popcaan, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Moonchild Sanelly, Mos Def and Sweetie Irie. Yes there is a real party feel to the show tonight as Gorillaz parade their friends.
All this makes for a very memorable evening that draws to a close with ‘Clint Eastwood’. In just a few hours we’ve witness four fantastic acts all presenting their art in their own unique ways. All Points East may feel overly commercial at times but nobody can doubt their ability to curate some of the most eclectic and quality line-ups on offer by UK festivals.
Festival season is in full swing, the weather is warm, and the women are setting the standard for football, in many ways life is good. Of course in many other ways things are tough right now.
Music has always been an escape from reality, and we certainly need a distraction right now, so as Y Not Festival open their gates for the first time in three years, it’s time for tens of thousands of fans to let their hair down and celebrate. That is once they can actually get in, with some enormous queues upon entry dampening early spirits.
Now, the last and only time I attended Y Not Festival was the fateful 2017 event which ended in cancellation midway through. I wrote a scathing review for another publication and swore never to return.
Well, watching from a distance the festival has put out some stunning line-ups since then, and organisational changes appear to have improved things and returned the events reputation to pre-2017 levels. This year is in fact billed as their first year back as an independent festival.
Having decided to give the festival a second chance on the basis of their 2020 line-up, I’ve since witnessed the line-up change multiple times for the worse based on my personal preferences. There is no doubting however the overall quality of the line-up at a tough time for festivals.
I’m interested to see how the event will progress and whether it can change my opinion of the festival after the 2017 debacle, so the huge entry queues on Thursday and Friday aren’t the best start.
Thankfully once inside, things pick up quickly! The general layout is well thought out in the main arena, with the main stage, the second stage (The Quarry) and numerous other attractions in the main section of the arena, and the third stage (The Giant Squid) and various other stages and attractions located in a smaller area.
This almost creates two distinct festival areas, with a busy walkway connecting them. The only issue here is that later on in each day this thoroughfare does bottleneck and makes movement very difficult. At one point on Sunday night, this reaches a near dangerous level as fans flood the area trying to catch an Oasis tribute band on one of the smaller stages.
Whilst I quite liked the two separate areas concept, in future additional access would need to be installed at the other end of the second area to avoid any disastrous incidents and make crowd movements flow better.
Now on to the music! Thursday is an add-on day and those to fork out and arrive early are given a splattering of acts to enjoy.
The first such act that we catch is Lucy Spraggan who does a great job in getting the audience into the spirit of things. Spraggan has the crowd singing along to the likes of The Proclaimers cover ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, and fan favourites ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’ and ‘Wait for Me’.
Next, The Hunna grace the main stage and also deliver a crowd pleasing set. The band’s momentum seems to have stalled slightly, but that upwards trajectory is set to relaunch if the reaction to new single, ‘Trash’, is anything to go by. ‘She’s Casual’ and ‘Bonfire’ serve as a reminder of what the band is capable of, and leaves the audience fully pumped up for our Thursday headliners.
WATCH ‘TRASH’ FROM THE HUNNA ON YOUTUBE
Those headliners are indie stalwarts The Kooks. The band have been celebrating their debut album, ‘Inside In/Inside Out’, whilst they have also recently released a new album, ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’. It’s no surprise then that 15 out of 21 songs tonight come from those two releases.
The new tracks manage to hold up well with the hits such as ‘Ooh La’, ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ and ‘Naïve’. All in all this equates to a fun headline show which sets the standard for the weekend to come.
Friday on paper is the best day musically for me heading in with a great mix of the new and established acts that Y Not Festival has managed to book so well.
It’s a new act we start with on the main stage as Lauran Hibberd brings her charismatic indie pop to Y Not Festival. The early risers are treated to a glimpse of a star in the making and those that make the effort don’t regret it. Hibberd’s debut album, ‘Garageband Superstar’ is out this month, and based on today’s showing it will be a breakthrough record.
Hibberd has featured previously on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist, and next we headed to the ‘Giant Squid’ stage for the first time to catch fellow playlist alumni Daytime TV.
Daytime TV showcase their incredible debut album, ‘Nothing’s On But Everyone’s Watching’, as they quickly blast out the likes of ‘We Can’t Be Friends’, ‘Hush’, ‘Ugly’ and ‘Zombie’. This is another band with a great future, and today they deliver the goods for the early crowd.
Watch our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests Daytime TV
Continuing the run of fantastic young acts we catch MarthaGunn in the ‘Giant Squid’ and The Skinner Brothers in the ‘Allotment’. Two very different acts, but two more acts that make the very most of their time on stage, clearly winning over any fans not already converted.
We then return to the main stage for another newer act, but one that already feel established. The Snuts burst onto the scene with their debut album, ‘W.L.’, and have dominated festival stages this year. Today fans are treated to a look at what comes next with new songs ‘Burn the Empire’ and ‘Zuckerpunch’ sounding massive. Expect The Snuts to continue to climb festival bills over the next few years, and don’t be surprised when they are eventually headlining the likes of Y Not Festival.
The Pale White continue what has been a consistently brilliant day of music with a powerful set in the ‘Giant Squid’, before we head to the ‘Quarry’ for the first time this weekend.
Festival favourite and all round legend Beans On Toast assembles a huge crowd for a sing-a-long session. The heralded folk singer serenades his crowd with favourites such as ‘The War on War’, ‘M.D.M.Amazing’ and ‘On & On’. Really, there should be a law that dictates that Beans On Toast appears at every single festival.
Watch The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guest Beans On Toast
Even before the major issues struck in 2017, one gripe I had about Y Not Festival was the apparent disorganisation in relation to set times. I worry next that perhaps this issue hasn’t been fixed as Manic Street Preachers fail to appear for their advertised start time. Eventually a message appears on the screens citing technical difficulties, and the band finally arrive almost an hour late on stage.
This of course has a knock on effect to our headliners Stereophonics, and also means when the Manics do arrive, they quickly depart again only playing for half their originally scheduled time. The technical difficulties seemingly continue to dog the band throughout their short time on stage, which causes more set changes on the fly. A lesser band may have given up, but Manic Street Preachers force their way through.
Stereophonics are a safe bet as a festival headliner, guaranteed to deliver the goods and give the audience a good time. That’s exactly what they do to close out Friday night, with a set mixed of hits and deep cuts from throughout their distinguished career.
The double header of of Welsh icons Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics was a major selling point for many fans, so it’s disappointing that the technical issues leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Saturday soon arrives and we start off on the main stage for another double header of established acts. The Futureheads and Levellers bring the crowds in early as the festival rights the wrongs of last night. Both bands deliver solid sets which the audience lap up, and the party is in full swing as we head deeper into Saturday afternoon.
We refocus next however back to the fresh new acts that help to make this festival so appealing. Do Nothing, King No-One and the excellent The Mysterines all draw big crowds to the ‘Giant Squid’ stage and all three acts are able to produce perfect festival sets to the delight of the packed tent.
Sea Girls are one of the bands leading the new wave of indie and they are next up on the main stage, where they are greeted by an army of their fans. The band and fans then reciprocate energy for the next forty-five minutes and the result is a very enjoyable watch.
Our Saturday night is then spent back in the ‘Giant Squid’ for two bands that personify the festival. First up is a hot new band on the cusp of greatness in the form of Yard Act. This is a band that has been touring solidly and making a name for themselves. Today they put the spotlight on debut album, ‘The Overload’, which gets the entire tent bouncing along.
Lastly is an established act of indie folklore, We Are Scientists! The band finish out the night with a fan pleasing set full of favourites such as ‘It’s A Hit’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’.
WATCH ‘THE GREAT ESCAPE’ FROM WE ARE SCIENTISTS ON YOUTUBE
It’s during this time that the heavens open for the first time. Back in 2017 it was the Saturday night when the festival organisers decided enough was enough, come Sunday morning the last day was cancelled and a disorderly evacuation of the site commenced.
One massive criticism of the event that year was a lack of foresight with heavy rain predicted well in advance, the site saw little or no preparation for the weather. It’s great this year then that prior to the rainfall we see straw spread at key points in the arena.
The result is that despite a night of rain, the arena is still in good nick come Sunday morning and we are able to continue with the high quality entertainment. Kudos then to the present organisers for taking proactive action rather than waiting until the horse has already bolted!
So, onto my first Y Not Festival Sunday! We again are on the hunt for new talent early on and catch both Marty and Cucamaras in the ‘Quarry’ and Baby Queen capturing the imagination of the main stage. All three showing that the future is bright.
Sunday really sinks it teeth in on the main stage with back to back performances from Amy MacDonald and Jake Bugg. Two more established acts with stacked back catalogues, two more artists that are able to deliver polished and well received sets as the shine really starts to break through.
After some sing-a-long action with MacDonald and Bugg, it’s back to the fantastic new music offerings as The Hara and Rews in the ‘Giant Squid’, and Vistas and Dream Wife in the ‘Quarry’ all deliver blistering performances which really rile up the audience.
Soon there is a great moment on the main stage where The Vaccines get to announce the incredible result of the Football mid-set. The atmosphere is electric as fans celebrate with more great music.
For us that great music sees us conclude our weekend back in the ‘Giant Squid’, firstly with Blood Red Shoes, who have released one of the albums of the year in ‘Ghosts On Tape’. Their belated set is an intense and ferocious explosion of rock which instantly enters the race for performance of the weekend.
Watch The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guests Blood Red Shoes
That honour is hotly contested as across four days of music we somehow haven’t seen a bad performance. The pure quality on offer despite the multiple line-up changes since 2020 is a testament of the work of the booking team for Y Not Festival.
The last band of the weekend for us is Black Honey, who decide that the crown for set of the weekend belongs to them. They deliver an energetic yet majestic performance that is the perfect way to end what has been a great weekend.
I must admit scepticism coming into the event, and whilst I hoped that a great weekend would be had, I wasn’t sure. The organisers have rectified the issues of 2017 and have earned themselves a clean slate from me.
Whether you just want to chill at the main stage, or go hunting for the best kept secrets in the tents, Y Not Festival had it all this year. The ghosts of the past have been put to bed by the acts of the future!
As May draws to a close, the traditional UK Festival season commences. Of course 2022 is the first full season in three long years following the pandemic-related disruption to the 2020 and 2021 summers.
It must be fate then that as we journey towards Earlham Park in Norwich, the skies are grey and the rain begins to fall. It wouldn’t be the UK summer without some of the wet stuff now would it?
Our destination on this chilly spring Sunday is a new venture called Neck of the Woods. The one day festival sees organisers take over a venue vacated by yesterdays Let’s Rock Retro Festival.
I’ve long championed the notion that Norwich needs an indie/rock festival and if tagging along to this existing event makes one viable then I’m all for it. Line-up wise Neck of the Woods is certainly going for the growing younger indie crowd with only headliners The Kooks of a certain vintage.
Access is quick and easy and the atmosphere once inside is nice and relaxed. The usual overpriced festival food and bars are present as are four stages of music.
Given the ongoing cost of living crisis it’s somewhat disappointing yet fully expected post-pandemic that food and drink prices have increased since last year. A hot dog, fries and a can of pop coming to a staggering £14.50! As I say, expected given the past couple of years, but a little frustrating.
The site is setup well for a one day event with the stages spread out between two different areas, each with one outdoor and one tented stage. As expected there is some sound bleed at times, but nothing too invading.
There are a handful of stalls and other activities scattered around the site, with ample facilities such as toilets plus a separate VIP area. Thankfully there are no major queuing issues all day with the amount and distribution of everything on site seemingly well measured.
That’s the amenities taken care of then, now onto the music! That is after all why we are all in this field, with a little sunshine now poking through.
Opening the main stage are local favourites Youth Killed It who do a fantastic job in getting the early attendees engaged. Their unique brand of indie punk captures the imagination of the young audience and shows great promise for a band coming into their own.
The main stage and the tented second stage, sponsored by local venue The Waterfront, alternate meaning eager music aficionados can catch an endless stream of musical pleasures if their legs can hold them. We are able to hold this pace for the first half of the event, allowing us to take in some great young acts including a fair few to have featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist!
One such act is Liverpudlian indie upstarts Rats who open the second stage with a blistering set which wins over every single person present. A glimpse into the future of indie music, and the future is once again looking bright.
Next on the main stage are The Lottery Winners who, with their great onstage banter and even better musical output, may be the perfect festival band. The group have the audience in the palm of their hands throughout their short set and leave the crowd wanting more, which is all you can really hope to do.
Another enthralling act grace the second stage next with their superb 80’s tinged Synth-Pop are Deco. This is a name that is popping up on many a festival line-up this summer and is certainly one to watch out for.
Also on the one to watch list is the fabulous Lauran Hibberd who has been making waves for a couple of years now. Hibberd is preparing to release her debut album later this year, and on the evidence of today it is set to be a big one. Fully expect to see this name playing higher up festival bills next summer!
The Royston Club continue the hot streak of great young bands at Neck of the Woods next with another top showing in the tent. With many fans seemingly already in the know, the band are able to create a fun atmosphere as our legs begin to tire.
No time for rest just yet as we return to the main stage for a band that feel on the cusp of something really big. The Snuts hit the number one spot with their debut album and recently played some huge shows across the country including Brixton Academy.
Songs such as ‘All Your Friends’, ‘Always’ and ‘Glasgow’ from that album feel like they were made with days like today in mind. With the sun now making regularly scheduled appearances from behind the cloud and the crowd fully in the festival spirit, the band go down as expected. A hero’s reception for a group surely destined to headline this sort of event.
Now after that relentless run of superb music, we must stop and retreat to check out the VIP offerings. With a private bar and toilets along with ample seating including a good view of the main stage, the VIP area is basically what you’d expect at a festival; nothing too fancy but a nice place to chill out.
But whilst we rest, the music doesn’t. The organisers have done well to secure a line-up featuring some of the best new bands on the scene with a splattering of larger acts to draw the crowds.
Whilst we relax we get to enjoy dodie who offers something slightly different to the indie lad rock predominantly featured. An enjoyable set from dodie allows us time to recuperate before another onslaught of music.
We pick things back up towards the top of the bill now with Sea Girls on the main stage. Sea Girls are a band that I’ve heard of but never actually listened to. Not really knowing what to expect, the band are able to quickly get my attention. They also have the attention of the majority of the attendees with a clear connection existing between band and fans.
Their time on stage sails by very quickly which is usually a good sign, and with their name featuring on many festivals this summer, I feel they’ve earned a little more attention from me before I hopefully see them again.
In fact, one of my favourite things about festivals is discovering new music. I’d like to say NOISY on the third stage are a new discovery but they’ve actually featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist already. That said catching them live here gives new emphasis to their music as the band play one of the most energetic and passionate sets of the day.
Perhaps this energy and passion is what make our sub-headliners DMA’s fall a little flat having to follow them. Another band that I’ve not personally delved too deeply in before, I can’t say that are able to grab me as much as many others have today. A slower paced set perhaps wasn’t what the doctor ordered following NOISY in a small tent and prior to Yonaka in the big tent.
DMA’s are pleasant enough and perhaps do deserve deeper inspection, but as the weather gets colder and the feet start to ache, they struggle to capture my imagination today.
That was never going to be a problem for our second stage headliners Yonaka however! This after all is a band built on energy and passion, a band whose bond with the audience is synergetic.
Arriving slightly late on stage, the band power through their set which just adds even further impedance and immediacy to their performance. A sublime mixture of the stunning and the powerful encapsulates Yonaka as they deliver the likes of ‘Ordinary’, ‘Call Me a Saint’ and the incredible ‘Rockstar’.
Fans in attendance have probably just witnessed the performance of the day, but having slightly overrun it’s time to leg it back to the main stage where The Kooks have just arrived for their headline performance.
Their setlist tonight features debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ predominantly to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Adding in a few hits from that albums successors makes for a pretty great festival setlist.
Opening with ‘Seaside’ and ‘See the World’, the band instantly have the crowd in hand. They are able to maintain this connection throughout their performance which is more than worthy of the headline slot.
By the time ‘Naïve’ closes their set and sends the fans off into the night, it is very much job achieved both for The Kooks and for Neck of the Woods. Norwich does need an event like this, and whilst far from sold out, the event is well enough attended to be deemed a successful debut.
Hopefully Neck of the Woods can build on this solid start, build their brand and bring some of the biggest indie acts to Norwich in the coming years. Most importantly though I hope that they maintain the focus on new bands!
Today has been a day of discovery, finding great new acts before enjoying a handful of the best indie acts around at the moment; the perfect mix. I’d imagine we will be hearing a lot more from a number of these acts over the coming years, and hopefully we will be back at Earlham Park next year.