Saturday started early, as thousands flocked in their fancy dress to the main stage for 11:30 (IN THE MORNING) to catch GMTV superstar, Mr Motivator, who flew in from Jamaica to give us a workout.
The 63 year old was in high spirits and packed enough charisma to even get the ultra-cool catfish fans on board whilst they waited for their evening. If you wanted to see fishtail parkers doing the ‘funky chicken’ this was your only chance. The half hour slot was full of feel-good fun, some incredible fancy dress and some very fragile attempts at hungover exercise.
I felt motivated to press on through the busy Saturday schedule after the workout, so we jogged on to catch Dundee rockers Sahara for their first gig outside of Scotland. They played a startling performance to open The Allotment stage, with a mellow vibe between songs that let their talent do the talking.
Catching the band after their performance, their verdict on the set was: “Amazing. We can’t believe that many people came to see us, especially being the first band on. On the way down we were even saying that if nobody comes (which is exactly what we were expecting) then at least it would be a good experience – we never in a million years would have thought we’d pack out the tent”.
The rest of the interview with Sahara can be accessed on our website soon.
Sundara Karma graced The Quarry in the early evening and brought one of the best crowds of the weekend. Committed fans seemed to spring from nowhere to get behind the Reading band, who effortlessly played through the anthems and left the crowd half dazzled, and half moshing around. The tent became a riot, and Sundara Karma left a lasting impression, suggesting they’ll be back and that they’ll be the biggest – and coolest – act in the indie scene soon.
“The formidable ‘Noely G’ played a titanic set, keeping it purely about the music with only brief comments aiding the pulse of the show”
Circa Waves then set the mainstage alive with a performance that echoed their triumph at Parklife Festival. Up next was arguably the biggest act so far, Catfish. The fans packed out the main arena, and within thirty seconds of their set, flares provided a thick screen of smoke. Catfish played a good set and earned personal respect for their stage presence, eccentric kicks and jumps, sparking the crowd into a frenzy that took the music from studio to new heights in a live environment.
The night was rounded off by Noel Gallagher’s Highflying Birds. The formidable ‘Noely G’ played a titanic set, keeping it purely about the music with only brief comments aiding the pulse of the show. He reeled off all the best from the band’s two albums and incorporated a matured selection of five of Oasis’ biggest tracks, in a way that left the fans memorised, but able to enjoy it.
The beautiful performance left us knowing that Liam was only ever the album art for Noel’s CD. Highlight’s from the set included Oasis hits ‘Half The World Away’, ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘The Masterplan’ and the last song on the setlist, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, along with ‘AKA What A Life’ Gallagher’s penultimate track which was amongst the best five minutes of the entire festival.
Sunday kicked off with a brilliant performance by Nottingham’s own Kagoule. The three piece opened the main stage to a fairly large crowd, and smashed their way through a good amount of tracks from their latest album. Their post-grunge sound was captured handsomely on the main stage, and the band embraced it, looking sharp as hell and stylistically hitting their fans with a serious 1990s aesthetic. A few new tracks were tried out and they offer a more upbeat, and less lo-fi sound, whilst still keeping their smashing pumpkins-meets-pixies style tunes enjoyable. We were impressed, and I believe the band were too. We caught up with Kagoule later in the evening at another tent and managed to have a quick chat, which went as follows:
Impact: Hey Kagoule, wicked set earlier. Do you have any plans for Nottingham in 2016?
Cai: Not really man, there’s a thing or two that are maybes, but expect a new album.
Lawrence: Well, there’s that gig with Spring Kings in Rescue Rooms on the 22nd October?
Cai: Yeah, but that hasn’t been announced yet.
Lawrence: Oh yeah…
Cai: Ah fuck it, write about it anyway.
Will Joseph Cook was the next act on our list. The youngster has a heavy autumn ahead, where he is touring the UK, and he is a must see on that tour. His act is incredibly light and happy to watch and he boasts a seriously talented band behind him, who allow the tracks to be heard in a new light live, they’re disciplined, upbeat and cheery. WJC’s newest single ‘Take Me Dancing’ offers a glimpse of this in the studio but is only enhanced live, and a serious amount of the audience were singing along, which tells us he is going to be a household name within the next few years.
Impact were knackered and this point, and had to go for a shower as the heat had risen, the sun had burned, and tent conditions wafted beyond the borders of inhospitable.
However, after a few hours of freshening up we were ready to tackle the end of Y Not with the intensity it deserved, and ran to the main stage to see the coolest – and most hilariously egotistical – band in Sweden’s history, The Hives.
“We might be the best goddam band you’ll ever see”
The band came onto the stage dressed in a half white, half black suit, which was split vertically down the middle, and if that wasn’t spectacle enough, shouted down the microphone: “We might be the best goddam band you’ll ever see” before exploding into ‘Come On!’
The crowd, a mix of ages, relished the chance to see The Hives and went all out with the singing, pogoing, dancing and screaming. ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ and ‘Tick Tick Boom’ were the obvious highlights, but the Swedish rock legends are not dead, as they played a host of very respectful new tracks. The Hives insisted we rate their show ‘55/10’, and, you know, they probably weren’t far off.
“We were treated to the occasional ramble of nonsense from Suggs and a cleverly tight show by the band itself”
And to end the sunny Sunday came a massive stage-wide ‘Madness’ sign, followed by the band, looking as sleek as ever. They kept it cool and composed. We were treated to the occasional ramble of nonsense from Suggs and a cleverly tight show by the band itself. As arguably one of the biggest UK bands of all time, playing the songs as we know them was all Madness needed to do, and there was no disappointment. The horns blew as well as they did in 1976 and Suggs’ voice was as strong as ever. We were treated to a cover of AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ and some dancing by the children of the band in their closing track ‘Night Boat To Cairo’. Every major hit was played, no obscure gem was left out, and the entire crowd roared along, enjoying every second.
Whilst Madness brought the best medium festival of 2016 to a close, not even Mother Nature could resist casting a gloriously vibrant sunset over the beautiful Peak District, bringing a wonderful festival to the perfect close.
Summarise the festival in three words: Happy. Musical. Vibes.
Best Live Acts: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Madness, Sundara Karma.
Best Stage Presences: Traams, The Cribs, The Hives.
Best Newcomers: Penelope Isles, Sahara.
The Next Big Thing: Sundara Karma, Kagoule, Will Joseph Cook.
Best Fanbase: Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Impact’s Favourite Act: Beans On Toast.
Wildcard: Mr. Motivator.
Images: Rhys Thomas & Y Not Festival