What did you do for your 25e birthday? If the answer involves welcoming some of the best concerts in the world, restructuring your diet around the twin pillars of ice and espresso, and a giant inflatable pink robot, then congratulations: you are YPSIGROCK festival, the Sicilian Festival Boutique which in a way surpasses charm and quality each year.
Bella Union participated in the celebrations this year, marking her own quarter of a century since Cocteau Twins launched her own label, then, later that year, separated. Simon Raymonde – who started leader alone the label in 2000And has since been joined over the years by a team that includes his wife, Abbey – offers a fascinating overview of the history of the label during the festival, which presents a range of acts that they have signed over the years.
One of these groups, Penelope Islandswere invited a week earlier for an unusual opportunity: spending a few days soaking up the beauty of Castelbuono, the mountain city built around a 14e Castle of the century and a breathtaking view that hosts the event, and collaborate with local artists to create new music inspired by the region. The result is one of the first amazing performances of the week, with music – written by Jack Wolter, Lily Wolter and Joe Taylor of the Brighton group, alongside Giulia Fonseca de Gogong – and the visuals of Ionee Waterhouse Combining for an electrifying show.
Addressing Jack and Joe for a few moments after their superb set, the couple talks about the struggles with which the industry was confronted – especially with the twin spectra of Brexit and the still imminent covid – but also to exercise positivity and the gratitude they did here. Or like Joe, who joyfully says to Clash that he ate ice every day during the eight days he spent here, says it: “Good Lord, we are in a castle!”
“It was a truly unique, special and comforting trip for us,” continues the drummer. “We have been living here for a week, let’s get to know the city. It was so pleasant to be able to go to a festival a few days in advance and to soak up it, because there are generally only entries and outings. It was beautiful, actually.
Despite all the additional pressures that industry has been faced in recent years, the two have highlighted the meaning of the community that has been strengthened since the return of live music. During their own set the following night, the group even got a boost from one of the oldest rock statesmen.
“I had a moment at the end of our set when I looked at the space in which we played and the number of people there, and I just thought: it’s really special,” explains Joe . “I was at my capacity of what I could absorb. I turned to watch Jack and Wayne [Coyne] was there, and I have the impression that my brain had a mini dysfunction. I was like, ‘It’s too much for me to take now!’ I think he dug it.
“We obtained the Wayne Coyne approval seal,” adds Jack.
Oh yes, Flamboyant lips. If there was any doubt that the group’s party box made up of Zorb balls, glitter and inflatable accessories would not go to the island, the delighted crowd – although surprisingly small – was entitled to a Set of greater successes which included almost all the brilliant or kick stopped explosive. While the set finally touches its ecstatic end on ‘Race for the Prize’, Coyne brandishes a giant inflatable sign: ‘Fuck Yeah Ypsigrock’. He feels appropriate. Later, a fan is seen carrying the inflatable letter p in the night. Why not?
Elsewhere, the castle welcomes some of the acts most adored by the criticism of the year. Clean love Put in a faultless set, strongly inspired by “prioritized Pleasure” of 2021, while Courtyard law manages to overcome some problems of his minors to offer a noisy and well received performance. On the beautiful but much smaller yps & love scene, At Denise Chaila The Saturday set of Saturday succeeds in one way or another in arousing the most enthusiastic applause of the week – and rightly so, the rapper of Dublin is also one of the undisputed strong points of the festival.
The Irish capital steals the show for the second time an hour later when Pillow Bring their unbeatable rock on the main scene, ending with a devastating “Liffey”. Addressing Clash just after, the quartet was also in the influence of the unique nature of the festival and its surroundings. “This is an unusual setting-I didn’t know much about the festival before,” said guitarist Cathy McGuinness. “But looking at the previous years and all the incredible people who have played at the festival – damn it, of course we want to play here!”
“We looked at where it was, and the photos, and we said to ourselves:” Yeah, no, we are going. It’s so beautiful, ”adds bassist and singer Sarah Corcoran.
Next to C.Duncan And Lowly, who both staged majestic sets throughout the week, The Flaming Lips and Penelope Isles talk about Bella Union as something more than a record company, part of their life that s ‘strive to do things differently. “For us, it’s a fairly special relationship,” Jack told Clash. “It’s always quite natural, we are good friends [with Simon and Abbey], we often dinner together. It feels like family. »
All those who have already gone to Ypsigrock know that passion, kindness and a ferocious independent spirit cross the festival’s veins in the same way as to Bella Union. It is in this sense that they are really twin, their common birthday this year a right reminder of the best that the music industry can produce when it puts music and the community in the foreground.
Words: Matthieu Neale // @matthewgneale