Live: Years & Years, 02 Apollo Manchester – 2/4/16

Through bright red beams, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen make their way to the stage and flamboyantly eccentric frontman Olly Alexander is soon so follow as Foundation rings out around the 02 Apollo. Alexander is the polar opposite from the moment Foundation ends and Take Shelter begins. Its thudding drum beat causes a wild roar amongst the crowd, the frontman’s dancing almost as infectious as the song itself and is always interacting with the crowd, pointing at smiling at familiar faces as they dance along. Just before Shine, Alexander is presented by a fan with a gay pride flag that he proceeded to hold up for everyone to see. “Give me a flag and I’ll accessorise” earned a few screams from the fans down front as he draped the flag around himself like a scarf for the entire song.

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Years & Years present a new song, See Me Now, which fits seamlessly into the set. Fun and dance-worthy just like the rest of the tracks on the night’s setlist. Alexander pulls up a man from the crowd before Eyes Shut to sit next to him on the piano, the crowd is taken aback by such a sweet sentiment for what’s proved a very important and popular song to many in the building as everyone bursts into cheers. A very surprising mash-up of Katy Perry’s Dark Horse and Drake’s Hotline Bling follows, few are left unimpressed but the majority in the crowd are delighted to hear two modern day pop classics in such a different way.

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However it’s Desire that is really the stand out of the set, expertly smooth and radiating happiness after the band hear just how loud the Manchester crowd can be. After a quick few minutes the band re-emerge and Danish singer and main support act MØ joins Years & Years onstage during an interestingly chosen cover of The Boy Is Mine. Overall the show had lighting that felt more like a rave than a pop concert, a giant trademark Y presented at the back the entire time and as the band go into final song King they pulled out all the stops to make it not only a good sounding performance but visually something special too. By the time the song wraps up, every colour imaginable is flashing on stage to replicate their 2015 album ‘Communion’ artwork.

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