Festival Review: X&Y Festival 2015

X&Y

Arts Club, Liverpool, 11th July 2015

Words: Elena Katrina

Photos: Gaz Jones

x & Y 2015I managed to miss last year’s gargantuan one day indie-pop bliss that is X&Y festival, so with a line up that featured so many of our fave new bands of the last 18 months we just had to get along to this year and we made it happen. Just. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable, and doable, idea to go to London the day before, end up getting quite inebriated and  be driven back the next day. Well it would have been, had I not found out half way back that my keys were still in London when we were taking a much needed service stop at Warwick. So all hell broke loose and I had a festival to get to. By 2pm.

I just about made it there by 5.30pm, with a smart save of spare keys and being whizzed in and out of the damn Queensway tunnel, but this meant that I had already missed the likes of The Ambition, Idle Frets and Daez. I was, by now, not in the best of moods. But just as I stepped through the doors of The Arts Club, so did Fatherson. A welcome I needed more than I knew; big smiles and soggy rained-on hugs with lead singer Ross, briefly put a smile back on my face. I suddenly realised I’d  not paid for my  car park space and had a mad dash to do that – all I needed on top of my day was to have a parking fine to boot.

I just about managed to catch my breath by the time the gloriously talented Eliza Shaddad took to the stage in The Art’s Club Loft. Her vocal so intense it demands attention. It was a bit of a shame that you could hear unwanted shaking of the drum kit through the first two songs though, as that kind of took a little away from being able to totally immerse yourself in the songs. The set built nicely though and the louder songs sounded great; letting the room fill with a noisy kind of calm. I certainly managed to pick the right band to see first. Even though I had also managed to catch the last half a song by the brilliant Banfi. A set I was most keen to see but that fate had decided otherwise.

FICKLE FRIENDS X&Y 15I left Eliza to run down to catch the end of Vynce, only to find that they had come off stage already. With over half an hour to kill I went for a mooch around the venue. The crowd at this festival was quite young. They weren’t all so young they couldn’t drink though and the front bar seemed to be doing a roaring trade. I bumped into a very sleepy Amber Run who were clambering for a drink at the bar. They too had had a long drive up from London that day, but thankfully all of their belongings were just where they should be. No major dramas there. I ran off with a farewell wave to see Fickle Friends. A band who have had several songs that I have really loved, including their set spectacularly infectious opener Could Be Wrong. A surprise opener for me but one which instantly engaged the crowd to be on their side, a smart move. This is a band who I have waited to see live for a very long time and they were more than worth the wait. Current single Paris, and it’s chilled calls to “move with me now” again filled me with a calm that was so very much needed. I can’t wait to see these guys n lady play again.

Meanwhile upstairs local band Polar States where busy playing their brash indie to a smaller crowd up in the loft. I’ve never seen these guys play before and I was pretty impressed with what I saw. They plugged themselves well, they engaged on all levels and most of all had a great close to their set. Quite frankly I wish I could have seen more but there’s always another time!

Another trip back to the front bar found it even busier than before but I managed to find myself and photographer Gaz a couple of seats at a shared table. Next thing I know we’ve been joined by Fickle Friends. Which I declared to them, out loud. Introductions all round it seemed they were as happy to meet me as I was them. Mood significantly improved. We even managed to grab time with them, post burgers, for a photoshoot and a q&a will be winging its way over to them ahead of their new single. I hope they’re not going to live up to their name, as I’m pretty pleased to have made these new friends. We all rushed and bundled back into the venue for Amber Run.
AMBER RUN X&Y 15Those of you who read this site regularly will know we’ve been a huge fan of these lads since their Amber days, and are always pleased to see how far they have come. Their set for X&Y was triumphant. The crowd were totally on their side singing away and cheering. Long gone are the days where front man Joe looks unsure or holds back from his mic on those super high notes, his confidence is unreal now, almost to the point of not caring. They are shaking lose a little, they’re a bit more rock n roll, the hair is growing out, the stage presence is certainly more arrogant in ways it never has been before, and everyone loves it. I felt a little pang of pride, as well as one of sorrow, as I realised this band has really grown and flown well away from being one of my favourite new bands. Now they’re just one of my favourite bands and I have to stand back now, no longer the only one who knows all the words, now I witness what I always knew would be. To me this was the headline band of this stage.

I almost missed Amber Run’s last song, keen not to miss a moment of Fatherson, who were closing the stage in The Loft. As soon as the first note of Noah played though I was rooted. I wasn’t going to miss this. It’s a song that has become particularly close to my heart and this performance almost brought tears to my eyes, it certainly gave me shivers. Watching from the very back of the room as the band called for the crowd to sing along and for them to give it all they had. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Totally worth having had a crazy day for.

FATHERSON X & Y 15Luckily Fatherson were held up as everyone in the building appeared to have been downstairs. I will rage war in a moment, no why wait, let’s go now. I was furious. The crowd did build upstairs to a respectful number but this band deserve so much more love than Liverpool gave them this soggy Saturday night. There should have been a ruckus to get in. The band  still gave their everything;  played out their set as though they were still on stage at 2000 trees the night before, where they played to a big tent rammed full of people. For me this band was THE band of the festival. Every single time I see them they deliver; every single note is on the money, they are always full of energy and always, above everything else, they really connect with their crowd, no matter how big or small. I just wish I could have been less tired and not have let the fact that the room wasn’t beyond packed out effect my enjoyment, even ever so slightly. I ended up in my car after this set, I needed a sit down. I was spent. My energy and my emotions. Hudson Taylor hadn’t even come onto the stage when I’d staggered downstairs and I reluctantly didn’t go back in to see them when they did.

Over all X&Y was a great experience, it did brighten my day and the bands all gave me life and energy better than any strong coffee could have done. The crowds were energetic and friendly and I can’t wait to see how this brilliant one-dayer comes together in 2016. Well done the fabulous team behind X&Y you put together a blinder!

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  1. […] was in the Summer of 2015, on stage in Liverpool’s Arts Club for I Love Live Event’s X&Y festival where she was simply spell-bounding. Since then there’s been some Twitter chatter between us […]

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  2. […] time since I last caught these Fine Folks play live and the same time since we accidentally had lunch together – in what then turned out to be our photo-shoot for an exclusive interview that […]

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