After a very slow and somewhat disorganised entry to the O2 Academy Leeds we finally, along with a handful of others, were ready to enjoy the night. Press To Meco were already on the stage with only a few people making it into the venue in time for the start. They didn’t let this affect their performance as from start to finish they had amazing energy and kept the crowd that were filtering into the venue throughout their set entertained.
The Croydon band performed with clean vocal harmonies between all three of the members during every song. Luke Casey on guitar sported a very relaxed style of guitar playing, leaving him able to jump around the stage and form some classic rock poses around the drums with bassist Adam Roffey. Keeping the crown rowdy before they began “If All Your Parts Don’t Make A Whole”, Casey commanded that he wanted to see “all the jiggly bits on everyone’s bodies shaking!”.
With the growing appreciation from the crowd aiding their already confident stage manor, Casey, Williams and Roffey ploughed on through the set. This energy was mirrored by the crowd, especially when Casey initiated a wall of death by telling everyone to make friends while clearing the middle. He enjoyed playing with the crowd as before the sixth song “Affinity” started he decided he wanted to have a little fun. Asking out to the crowd who was feeling shy, he then got a random person to start a monkey mosh pit… definitely an interesting site!
While there were still people entering the venue, the lights dimmed and it was time for Yonaka to take the stage. Before they appeared, a lengthy rap backing track was played which seemed to excite at first, but the screams died down until the band finally graced the stage and the crowd went wild again. As soon as the first song began, lead singer Theresa Jarvis was moving around the stage and barely stopped throughout the whole set. During the first song, “Ignorance”, George Edwards on guitar shared the mic and joined in with vocals as well as spurring the crowd on with hand gestures.
Keeping the talking to a minimum they thanked Leeds and Don Broco between songs before carrying on with the rest of the set. For an up and coming band it didn’t seem that many people in the audience knew much of their set, however this didn’t stop heads bobbing and cheers at the end of songs… they could definitely have some new fans after this gig, especially after the reaction their new single “Fucking With the Boss” received. After the last song, “Bubblegum”, Jarvis said a quick goodbye before they hastily moved off stage.
As soon as the lights went down, a drum intro started as Don Broco took their positions on stage the crowd went wild. When the music started you could feel the energy in the air as the whole crowd was jumping. The second song, “Everybody”, had nearly everyone in the venue singing along and guitarist Simon Delaney was certainly there to get everyone rowdy with some impressive moves himself. When Rob Damiani jumped down to the barrier everyone rushed forward and when the song was over he apologised to a girl in the front for possibly crushing her hand. Wearing very funky shirts and Delaney in some short shorts, there was no doubting their confidence and unique style as they moved about the stage.
Chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” began when Damiani mentioned that Leeds was their favourite place ever. They also mentioned that it took playing in Yorkshire three times before they realised people weren’t chanting “You’re shit” which got a huge round of laughter from the room. The lighting setup was slightly unusual for a headline act as it was mainly backlit with an array of flashing bars behind the band rather than the normal spotlights on band members.
With some impressive synchronised jumping from Delaney on guitar and Tom Doyle on bass, by the fourth song it felt like all of the band members were warmed up and giving their all. With instruction from Damiani to “open this room up and get moving” the crowd formed one of the biggest circle pits I have seen for a band with such an indie style. During “Automatic” the band decided to try something different… getting everyone in venue to sit on the ground. This was definitely tricky due to the capacity crowd although there were a few die-hard fans who tried.
A quick break before the encore and the crowd once again went wild, seeming to have lost no energy throughout the entire gig. With Matt Donnelly on drums and vocals leading the band into their new single “Come Out to LA”, it showed just how dedicated the fans were, singing, dancing and bouncing all night long. After a quick thank you they began “T-shirt Song” that includes the lyrics “I take my t-shirt off, swing it around my head” which the audience gladly participated in.
Overall, the energy and performances from all three bands and the audience throughout the night was electric. However I am curious to why there were a few fans holding kitchen utensils during the Don Broco set?! Answers on a postcard, please…
Photos by Jack Barker Photography