On a rare sunny Manchester day, spirits were high with anticipation of what was in store at the ‘You Are Not Alone’ festival, and it certainly did not disappoint. Running in aid of the non-profit charity Manchester Mind, YANA spanned across three venues in the North Quarter, Jimmy’s, Whisky Jar and Night and Day Café. With so much to see I had carefully scheduled my day so I did not miss a thing; however I soon realised the festival organisers had done their homework, cleverly planning it so as one band finished at one venue another started in another venue, all within a very comfortable walking distance from each other.
Arriving to a packed out basement in the Whisky Jar, I could barely squeeze in to watch Satyr Play. Fresh from headlining a sold out show at Gorilla back in February, they had bought a loyal crowd with them, the front row packed with people wearing their t-shirts, all reciprocating the energy the whole band were giving on stage. These boys know how to put on a show, and what a show they did give us, playing a forty-five minute unique and diverse set, full or crowd pleasers, shown by the amount of people singing every word back at them.
A hard act to follow, but the shoegaze stoner rock of the Purple Heart Parade was up for the challenge. Flowing through their set as if it was a concept album, each song complimenting the next, like a blissful dream you didn’t want to wake from. Pete Cowap’s vocals were both haunting and mesmerising, marrying up perfectly with the wall of psychedelic sound the rest of the band were creating.
Next up was the C33s, showing just how varied the music is at this festival. A bluesy rock ‘n’ roll three piece, they rattled through their set like they were late for a bus, but boy what a set it was. Fairly new on the scene there has been a lot of hype surrounding this band, and their set at YANA showed us why. Playing all songs from their debut EP (‘48 Hours at Neon Palms’) as well as a fair few more, what helped the crowd to get whipped into a frenzy is the short yet punchy style their songs have. Defiantly one to watch out for in the future.
I think a special mention needs to be given to Velvet Shakes as, for me, they were an unexpected treat. A very relaxed and happy band, this came across in their music helping to create a really fun vibe in the room. Everyone was dancing and really getting into the groove the band had generated from their summery, almost gleeful pop-psych. There was so much energy, so much humour and so much talent, a real gem of a discovery.
Finally we have the mighty Deja Vega. Their set started like a bullet from a gun, thirty minutes of pure energy, driving and constant. Tom on drums and Mike on bass didn’t stop for a second, linking each song together seamlessly. Jack added the finishing touches to the rhythmic masterpiece with well-placed guitar melodies and fierce vocals. I’ve never seen Jimmy’s so packed out before, and the whole audience were in awe of the spectacle before them. The set seemed to go by in a blink of an eye, but that is just a testament as to how amazing it was. Deja Vega get better and better every time I see them, if you haven’t seen them yet then I highly recommend you do.
With so much going on it’s difficult to talk about all the bands that played, but some other standout performances came from The Longcut, The Scuttlers, Secluded Sea and Cold Water Swimmers. This was a great festival for a really good cause, which each band fully backed, highlighting why we were all there and making sure we did not forget to donate. All the artists, staff and organisers should be proud of the wonderful day of music, laughter and merriment they all contributed towards. Roll on YANA 2020.
???? Photos by Neil Winward & Matt Parry