YAK, Goat Girl and Peaness – LiverpoolO2 Academy 2: live review
There was competition for Liverpool’s live audience on the night Yak came to play. Warpaint were playing close by on the opening night of Liverpool International Music Festival 2016. It left the room at the O2 Academy 2 emptier than it should have been. Those that chose to attend were treated to fine support acts and another overwhelmingly full-on YAK performance.
Peaness brought their melodic indie to the venue to start an interesting and thought provoking night. The Chester trio use the duel female vocals excellently, providing some good quality tunes. As they said themselves, they were the quietest band of the night. They went down well with the audience as a whole and had brought their own fans with them. Songs like ‘Summer Song’ have an off-beat simplicity which suits their vocal style well.
Goat Girl from London have a wild and interesting style. They do have a cool stage persona which seems to have developed since their early gigs in South East London. Louder and wilder than Peaness, the girls brought some excellent songs to the audience and received quite a welcome. The audience reaction gained strength with every track. A great and original band.
YAK hit the stage with more bombast than many bands achieve in a lifetime. Every gig is different and the addition of a saxophonist may have added substance, but did little to change the incendiary nature of their live show. They chopped and changed from one track to another creating medleys and morphing one song straight into another.
All the anthems were there with ‘Smile’ and ‘Hungry Heart’ getting the live treatment they deserve. It was good to hear their frenzied take on ‘Cumberland Gap’, such a big part of their early live shows. The material from the album ‘Alas Salvation’ was amazing, with ‘Curtain Twitcher’ a stunning highlight. At times the room was the most amazing wall of sound. ‘Semi-Automatic’ from the recent double A-side single showed Yak are continuing to bring out quality tracks rather than simply releasing singles from the album. With a three song encore including ‘No’ and finishing with ‘Plastic People’ it was a stellar set. The audience went wild.
The Liverpool gig was the second to last before YAK break for a while. Their stage show is physical, exciting and probably exhausting. It takes real showmen to pull off a breath-taking performance at the end of two years of tours across the world. YAK did all that.
The kids in the pit and the majority of the audience didn’t care. They got what they came for: Ollie on top of the crowd; hanging from the pipework; swigging Jack Daniels straight from the bottle. But the need for a break from the road was palpable even during this stunning gig. Ollie left the question of what comes next dangling, hinting that the break may be permanent, but only maybe. Perhaps a break to recharge will be enough. If YAK break up, the current music scene will have lost one of it’s brightest stars. The world will be darker without them to shine light into the blandness.