Yak put on an inspired showing in Cardiff!
Following the release of their second album Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, Yak
The first support was offered by Swansea trio Vanilla. They engaged with the far-from-easy task of delivering the early set of the evening with a forward, confident stage presence. I always enjoy seeing bands, especially young ones, looking like they are having genuine fun when performing live, and that element was definitely present in this performance. The sound was easier on the ears than the rest of the evening, with a good number of pop-punk suggestions and an interesting interplay between lead and backing vocals. The sound was not as finely tuned as it should have been at times, and there were hiccups, but that can be part of the
The second support, Mush,
The main event of the evening, however, was without doubt the Yak performance. It was a long one, topping a hour and a half, and once again the band lived up to their reputation as the type of performers that can put on an intense, memorable show. I have seen frontman Oli Burslem described as an extreme, even scary performer before, and in the most frantic moments of the show it’s easy to see where those labels come from: he certainly throws himself into the music entirely (and threw himself bodily into the audience more than once). With his now trademark look, barefoot and dressed entirely in white, he is by this point as close to an iconic figure as the up-and-coming indie rock scene has in the UK.
He certainly has an ability to engage very closely with the audience, and the front rows were completely enthralled at more than one point, which made for some very poignant moments. The mood in the room was very similar to what one can see in old recordings of gigs from the 70s, when there were less health and safety concerns and restrictions and performers were less aloof than their contemporary counterparts; there was even a moment in which Burslem’s guitar was flung into the audience, caught, and returned unharmed to the stage. It was in many ways a deep, emotional experience, I have a feeling, for everyone involved; during the louder, more powerful tracks, like Fried or Bellyache, the audience let go completely.
Yak couple a strong sense of showmanship with
It was a strong show for a band that has repeatedly demonstrated they don’t intend on pulling any brakes with regards neither to the message they put in their music nor in the dirty but precise kind of sound they’re going for. It was also – one would hope – a good sign for the Cardiff scene, which recently has started attracting more bands of this caliber, and demonstrating the great potential that spaces like Clwb Ifor Bach, soon due for expansion, might have for the grassroots music scene.
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff. She’s a novelist and freelance journalist with a lifelong love of music, from glam to punk by way of blues and country.