Brewtown #24: Brewtown does YNot!

YNot Festival Logo

For this edition of Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d do something out of the ordinary (for this site at least). Something that is short, sweet but also informative of a certain event that happened nearly 3 months ago! That of course is the annual Midlands music festival extravaganza YNOT.

I know that this may be a stretch to be a Throwback Thursday piece, but since it happened a bit back and I just want an excuse to try something different, I think it works…kind of! But anyway, I decided that if there was any music festival to go to this year, it was YNot. Pretty close to home, great press and hosting some big names like Dizzee Rascal, The Fratellis and Andrew WK!

But this year saw a number of local acts (Brewtown acts no less) perform and be very well-received not just by the old familiar faces that they’d see down the Whistle, but also by the general public who ambled by the stage they were on. I’ll look at how they were day by day and how the festival was overall.

THURSDAY EARLY ENTRY

Despite the official kick-off being Friday morning at 10, Thursday evening saw the influx of early birds who had paid an extra £13 to get a fresh spot at the festival as well as see some acts that would exclusively be performing on that day (Or so we thought!).

Although we did have the welsh chav comedy hip hop (a much maligned genre) giants Goldie Lookin Chain ending the night in The Giant Squid tent, we had Brewtown giants Max Raptor getting the festival off to a moshing, head-banging start with their many fans singing along and nearly mutilating each other in the mosh pits, as you do. It is moshing etiquette after all.

FRIDAY

On a day which featured such big guns as Razorlight, Reel Big Fish and Andrew WK (your humble writer’s favourite act of the weekend), it also featured Midlands acts like Alex Blood and the Diggers who got the Hog & Barrel stage stomping with their delightful acoustic versions of their ska infused set! Their energy very much countered the wet and windy misery of the weather!

The Allotment stage (which stood in the same area as the Main Stage as a support stage if you will), featured the majority of the Brewtown acts which included Follow You Home and Tilted Smile on the Friday. The main stage also featured Sonic Boom Six that day who Follow You Home have supported in the past.

SATURDAY

The sun finally came out in the afternoon after a severely wet Friday and Saturday morning (the poor souls who forgot their wellies!) and brought with it a surprise set from Max Raptor! Yes they played double duty at the weekend after another band The First couldn’t make it. I guess Max Raptor were…the SECOND choice! Sigh, rotten fruit and veg are over there. Fire at will!

Derby-base acoustic female guitarist Harriet impressed at the Hog and Barrel while Welsh indie rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen graced the main stage. The reason they’re mentioned here is because Get Cubs supported them earlier this year, so there you go!

The Brewtown highlight for Saturday was Exile84′s evening set which brought in a good mixed crowd of Burton regulars and newbies seeing them smash it for the first time. Plus, the band had a replacement bassist! None other than Kitten Pyramid co-founder Matt Redfern taking over for an absent Ash Eaton! I feel sorry for The Fratellis and Dizzee Rascal for having to follow them!

SUNDAY

The last day of the festival weekend (not counting the exiting hangover of Monday morning) saw Frank Turner and De La Soul headline the Main Stage but the more low-profile bands were still bringing in the crowds to tide them over till they arrived.

Now a duo, 5 Days of November gave 100% at the Allotment stage despite only being 50% of what they were previously. George Mills and Woody Arnold remain on lead vocals/guitar and drums respectively. Derby act House of Thieves also played at the Quarry around this time which so far hasn’t had a mention so, yay Quarry!

Jamie Beau played a delightful set for the Hog and Barrel attendees/drinkers and Derby soul singer Jamie Joseph closed out the weekend (at least on the Allotment stage) with a fantastic and engaging set. And with that, YNot was over not just for Brewtown, but for all the campers, musicians and staff alike.

VERDICT

As a whole, YNot boasted a huge, diverse line-up of acts from Indie giants The Fratellis to UK grime king Dizzee Rascal to US Hip Hop legends De La Soul, but the local talent pulled in some surprisingly big crowds and interest for their sets despite a lot of competition selling some merchandise and gaining social media followers along the way (hint hint, Brewtown Music Facebook page…pretty please?).

Cheap plugs aside, the Brewtown acts all played well, especially Max Raptor who pulled double duty at the hugely popular Giant Squid alternative stage, both sets were just as great as each other. Each band kept everyone enthusiastic and energetic despite the horrid weather to start off with and they each earned a drink or ten afterwards!

Brewtown played it’s part at YNot and little by little, it’ll continue to play it’s part around the country at other gigs and festivals too. Reminisce and be proud Burton-on-Trent! You’ve left your mark, quite literally as seen below! Till another mark can be left, this is Brewtown Music, serving up more nostalgic music memories (if 3 months ago can be considered such!)

Exile84 line-up bomb

A look back on the first year of Brewtown Music (and fav songs of 2013 from acts I’ve reviewed)

2013

Well what do you know? It’s been nearly six months since we had our first awkward introductions and here I am now, as awkward as I was back then! Except I’ve managed to throw together some articles in that time and call it a music blog…yeah! Either way, I’m gonna go on a bit of an ego trip now and look back at the last six months of Brewtown.

I have to say it’s been a lot of fun to do. It was originally something that I wanted to do just to get me back into the journalism game again after having a few menial jobs and one published article in the Burton Mail since I graduated with a Journalism and Media Studies degree. It had to be with something that I loved, could talk a lot about and something that was easily accessible. The local music scene seemed to be the right fit.

I had my first apathy attack right after my introduction piece where I ended up not publishing my first act article on the Roz Bruce Infusion a month after it but when I did, it did feel like I’d accomplished something and a good number of people noticed that so I kept it going, with articles on act like Get Cubs, Exile84 and Star From Ivy (my most viewed article to date!).

I did have a few more apathy attacks and work-related delays along the way but I think we all have those at times and the only deadlines I have are imposed on myself, not from someone else, so I have to motivate myself, nobody else can do that for me. I’m my own boss, my own passive-aggressive boss!

The amount of support that I’ve had has been great, particularly from the Burton music scene of course, sharing my articles around on Facebook, Twitter and their own websites. One even went so far as to say my piece on them reminded them of why THEY should keep going and have such an enthusiastic fanbase! It’s very humbling and touching to see my pieces could have a positive effect on them as their music has had on me.

Just remind yourself that whatever you do, don’t do it for money, attention or both. Do it because you’re enthusiastic about it, have the motivation to go through with it (eventually!) and that it is useful or entertaining to people whether it be educational, funny or both. Not that my pieces have been! That’s subjective of course (They’re really awesome though right?!).

In conclusion, thanks to everyone who has followed, liked and shared my blog around whether they be from Burton or beyond (I’ve had a good few international views I can tell you that!) since you’ve been a big help in me gaining my confidence again and thanks to all the acts who put their best into the music they write and the gigs they perform! If you are outside of Burton and follow my blog, rave about your own town or city’s contributions to it’s media and culture. I’d love to here from you about them!

This has been Brewtown Music and just before I close the 2013 barrel, here’s a top 5 of my favourite local tracks from this year (from bands I’ve written about so far). Please feel free to make your own list or state your favourites in the comment section too. Roll on and roll out the 2014 barrel!!

My 5 favourite local tracks of 2013

5. Get Cubs – Canada

I wants that effect! The ability to make your guitar sound like a pipe organ is enough for me to put this song and the list! The rest of the song isn’t anything to sneeze at though, with many different time signatures leading up to a fast paced finale, Canada sure is a great little track, eh?

4. The Vibe – The Smoker

And I thought the Hunger Games had disorientating cinematography! Seriously though, the song is probably the most ethereal The Vibe have ever been and has enough hypnotising musicianship to put you in a trance. One of the more interesting songs to come from the Brewtown scene in 2013.

3. Riding the Low – Great Day Out For the Boys

Here’s one that crept up on me! I was considering putting Rocky 99 on the list, but this one has the same knockout single quality that it has and more! Great energy from Paddy and the lads, nice female backing vocal for the chorus from Annalisa Tornfelt of Black Prairie (sometimes sung by Lorna Moore at live gigs) and an overall happy and triumphant feel that while playing it in the car guarantees, well, what the title suggests and the for the girls too!

2. Exile84 – Peace Train 

Another song that crept up one me and made an immediate impression! While the Exile crew is great as always with great vocals from Richella and Middlemiss, it’s Claire Cormack’s cello that gives this song it’s identity and propels this song into a whole different kind of atmosphere. Like Canada, it’s a build-up to a great finale that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for anything!

1. Kitten Pyramid – Uh Oh

Are you really surprised? I already talked about why I think it’s great and why it’s coverage on Channel 4, BBC Radio 6 and 2000+ views on Youtube is deserved (which needs to be WAY more than that!) so I’ll just say that the eclectic genre stylings, frantic delivery and crazy lyrics that embody KP’s style can be summarised brilliantly in this song. Props to KP and Rockfield producer Nick Brine for making this masterpiece! My favourite song from an act I’ve looked at in 2013!

Errr Heyup! (Awkward Introductions)

Welcome to the blog of Brewtownmusic! This is a place where I (Name’s Elltell by the way, handshake!) will be putting together a list of posts about the music scene of Burton-on-Trent. Now a lot of you are probably wondering: “Burton-on-Trent? You mean that small town in the English Midlands that Jeremy Clarkson said, bar Cannock, was the worst place in Britain? What could THAT place have to offer?” Well asides pitying you in that you believe everything JC says, I’ll tell you.

 For being such a small place, Burton has built itself a reputation as being a thriving music scene which has produced a significant amount of talent, more than some cities do I might add.

These include acts that have supported Prog-rock classics Gong, performed live at the legendary birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll Sun Studio and recorded an LP at Rockfield where acts like Oasis, Coldplay, Super Furry Animals and a pretty overlooked, underground group of gentlemen called QUEEN have recorded albums!

 It has also been the host to some high-profile mainstream acts such as Ska legends The Selecter, chart-topping Brit bumpkins The Wurzels and Metallica-inspiring metallers Saxon! All in the same weekend!

 Now if it sounds like I’m gushing over what my hometown has achieved, well…that’s because I am! But mainly what I want to do from this, is to encourage anyone who knows about a music scene in their hometown/city, to let it be known and celebrated. Because if I can boast a whole music scene in a crumb bum town like Burton, who knows how much talent there could be in places like Coventry, Stoke or even as far as Middlesbrough? Or in any other forms of media like Film, theatre, or sculpting? Look where you live or where you were born and see what talent has emerged from your backyard!

 Well that’s me done for now. Thanks for reading and hope to see you soon. See thee later!