Words & Photos: Chloe Ross
On a windy cold Saturday night in Leeds, we finally get to witness the postponed tour of rock royalty Yonaka.
First up to open the night are local lads King No-One. Hailing from York, they burst onto the stage at 8pm with an air of bravado and confidence that immediately piques your interest from the get-go. They’re the perfect fit for tonight’s bill supporting Yonaka; poppy yet punchy and energetic confidence that keeps your attention glued. Lead singer Zach Lount is mesmerising, in fact the four of them throw everything into their performance playing as if their lives depend on it. Even a slight technical glitch forcing the aforementioned to try his hand at a few jokes to keep everyone locked in doesn’t sway your enjoyment of the entire 45 minute set.
Proclaiming God to be a “they” being the personal highlight for me, along with a splattering of meaningful poetry between tracks is certainly enough to convert this newcomer into a fan. Lount ends the set singing 2017 hit Antichrist from a sound box looking down on an adoring crowd; the band have achieved what everyone hopes to, a support slot which feels just like a headline.
A short stage switch ensues and it’s on to the main attraction of Brighton’s Yonaka. The members enter the stage one-by-one to an electric atmosphere. Opening track Ordinary ushers in colour and bursts of excitement as the ever-growing success of the band truly becomes apparent. There’s not a single person in the entire audience not moving in some capacity as the music fills every crevice of the room.
Call Me A Saint is a complete goose bumps moment for everyone; lead singer Theresa Jarvis’ vocal never falters for a moment throughout the entire set. She is truly one of the best singers on the rock scene at the moment and should absolutely be recognised as such. Older track Creature still garners as much attention as it ever has, with the entire crowd bobbing up and down like some sort of beautiful game of whack-a-mole.
A particular highlight of the set is the band’s take on Pat Benatar‘s powerful Love Is A Battlefield. Somehow the band masterfully make this older tune sound completely their own to an extent that you could almost believe this was an original by them. The tone moves to a sombre one for an acoustic version of Guilty, which is haunting enough to bring you to tears, and prompts an endless sea of mobile phone torches to illuminate the Stylus venue.
Guitarist George Edwards plays his absolute heart out throughout the entire night, but nothing quite compares to his energy in F.W.T.B. After an incredible performance of most recent single Seize the Power, the band leave the stage, but of course, they soon return for an encore to the familiar chant of “we want more”.
First up is another beautiful crowd singalong of Anthem, then it’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for as the band close out the incredible night with Rockstar.
Yonaka never fail to disappoint on a live set front; they throw everything into it and it absolutely shines through. To their loyal die-hard fans, to newcomers, to someone simply passing through, they do the absolute most to capture your attention and make you listen to what they’re about. If any band deserves to make it in the harsh wasteland of the music industry right now, it’s Yonaka.