Yonaka played one of their biggest headline sets to date in a sold-out and snowed-in Garage courtesy of NME. With the addition of some previously un-played tracks, a Post-Malone cover featuring one of The Amazons and the usual great atmosphere that Yonaka’s gigs are becoming known for; this was not one to miss.
Guildford punk outfit BlackWaters kicked off proceedings with some riotous noise perfect for building up some crowd energy. Singles “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Fuck Yeah” provoked a lot of headbanging and singing along, the riffs were loud and heavy while the swagger and eclectic dress sense of their lead singer gave off some very Fall-esque vibes. Most punk of all though was the lanky bassist performing shoeless in Mr Men socks.
After BlackWaters left the air fizzing with the feedback of their guitars, Manchester born Natalie Findlay and her band played a funkier more chilled out set mostly of tracks from her debut album “Forgotten Pleasures”. The mix of sounds here was more eclectic and much harder to categorise than the obvious no holds-barred punk of BlackWaters, but the music was no less enjoyable and got everyone dancing. They’re a tight band and “Electric Bones” stuck out particularly well for being the funky alt-pop that bands like Anteros and in fact Yonaka are championing, as well as being a catchy track that I’m sure I’m not alone in saying stuck in my head and made me want to check out more of their stuff.
The air was then thick with anticipation for the headliners. Despite the snow maybe affecting the odd person’s plans to travel in for the gig had sold out well in advance so was full and buzzing before Theresa and the crew took to the stage. Showing their power and incredible stage presence which their gigs always showcase, they opened with a trio of their most stellar tracks; Ignorance, Gods and Lovers and Run. Within seconds of the opening guitar parts the crowd was alight, many people singing along wordperfect. When the first chorus dropped there was yet more energy with a pit or two opening up, which seemed to thrill lead chanteuse Theresa who grinned throughout. For Gods and Lovers in particular she kicked about the stage with in her usual badass manner, lapping up the adoration from the crowd which the band wholeheartedly deserve.
After this blistering opening it was time for fans to hear a brand new song “Real Love” which showed their fresher take on their usual sound. Next their grittiest older track “Drongo” brought back the raw power and stomping noise that Yonaka are best known for. The stand-out moment of the gig though came courtesy of the stellar cover of Post Malone’s best known track “I Fall Apart” with added vocals from The Amazons very own Matt Thompson; the mixture of Theresa’s more sombre but still powerful vocals harmonising with Matt’s made the song their very own. Three more new tracks including the slower and more toned down “Better Than This” brought yet more treats for fans who have been yearning to hear what new things they have to offer.
After their new banger of a tune “Fucking With The Boss” it was time to close the night with their indomitable track “Bubblegum” which brought the energy and the love in the crowd to an all-time high, as it usually does. After pausing for a breather having leaped offstage to skip in front of the barrier and to hug a couple of crowd members once the song had finished they left fans cheering and clamouring for more before satisfying them with their break-out single “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”.
For a crowd to enjoy brand new tracks and a cover as much as they seemed to takes real skill on the part of the band involved, skill which Yonaka clearly have. They’ve always put together tight and enjoyable performances but for me the energy last night was something else; more electric than it has ever been before.
Words By Oscar Rees @SkeletonOscar