YONAKA have a live reputation that many other bands crave.
Forming in Brighton just 3 years ago, Yonaka have already signed to major label Atlantic and released a string of successful singles and EPs, as well as play numerous festivals, ranging from All Points East to as big as Reading & Leeds, and consistent gigs, working their way up to this night, and it was certainly well deserved. All of this has gained them a live reputation many other bands desire. Their energetic and packed shows have gotten people talking, and it’s seen them land support slots with bands such as The Libertines and The Cribs, as well as being dubbed as one of the UK’s ‘wildest live rock bands’ by NME.
Thursday night finally saw Yonaka’s huge headline show at Electric Ballroom in Camden come around to a sold out crowd, a gig that has been anticipated for months by both the band and fans. It proved just how exactly the band have built this reputation for themselves, and they really do stand out with the amount of energy they put into each performance. This was no different – if anything, it was amplified.
Support came from indie pop group Sophie & the Giants and 80s post-punk rockers The Ninth Wave, both groups taking it into their own hands and dominating the stage and making it their own, warming up the crowd for Yonaka.
Opening with the powerful and anthemic “Teach Me To Fight”, Yonaka come on stage to a frenzy of cheers and screams, the crowd instantly whipping up a storm as the crowd finally get to see the rockers embrace the stage with their supercharged sound. The band transition into older, grittier songs, playing tracks such as ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’, much to the crowd’s delight, before debuting new tracks for the upcoming EP ‘Creature’, set to be released on 9th November.
The crowd revels in the new songs, the tunes receiving similar reactions to the older ones as they embrace it and dance along with Theresa. The reaction is shocking – most would stand around for unheard songs and take it as a chance to relax for a couple of minutes, but here the vibe is completely different. Even the slower one – ‘Death By Love’ – sees a good reaction, although both the band and crowd use it as a chance to cool off in between the set. The debut of these songs proves successful, and gives the upcoming EP a good lift off.
Yonaka’s songs incorporate elements from a variety of genres – pop, rock, hip-hop to name a few – to create a plethora of sound and it comes well together live. Their live sound is gritty, the combination of pulsing beats, distorted guitars, dense rhythms and booming vocals adding dimensions to the show and producing an electrifying atmosphere. Theresa’s vocals top it all off as she pours her anger into every word, and it is riveting.
The band’s stage presence brings it all together – lead singer Theresa Jarvis embraces the stage with her energetic moves and powerfully assertive vocals, hyping up the crowd often as she encourages them to sing and move along with her. She’s unapologetic, and dominates the stage, whilst guitarist George Edwards thrashes away as he puts his all into the performance, his energy matching that of the crowd as his guitar strikes. Bassist Alex Crosby takes a calmer approach, although still rocking away with his punchy bass lines, and drummer Rob Mason plays a prominent role, acting as the backbone of it all, keeping everything together with his beat.
The encore of ‘Run’ and ‘FWTB’ sets the place alight one last time with the band’s exhilarating energy really coming out to close the show. Even those who may not have known the band that well before give a shot at singing along to the songs, picking up the words, and joining in with the rest of the crowd. Theresa even hops down and joins in with the crowd to send off such a formidable gig.
Yonaka really do stand out as a live band with their immense sound, incredible stage presence and ability to get a crowd going. The band themselves have cautiously estimated it’ll be “a couple of years” before they headline Glastonbury, and if Thursday is anything to go by, it seems possible with the way their shows go.
It’s fair to say they have earned their incredible live reputation, and it’s only just the beginning for this band – there are still better things to come from this.