On Saturday the 16th of March, myself and a few other Mic members were at electrifying new Brighton-based band Yonaka’s gig at the Bodega, here in Nottingham. The show was sold out, leading to the relatively intimate venue being packed with fans of all ages (well, 14+ at least). It was great to see such a variety of individuals keen to support these rising musicians, although with the band’s unique genre-bending sound it was inevitable that they’d attract rock fans of all generations and styles.
Sadly, I was unable to see the opening act Cassyette, which is a pity because Cassy is an artist with a great voice. I did however make it in time for their second support act, The Broken Hands. This band was a little heavier than Yonaka, with towering vocals and heavy riffs paired with a band-wide set of head-banging hair that was truly reminiscent of old-school rock n’ roll. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance and thought they were perfect for getting the whole crowd even more hyped for Yonaka’s much anticipated appearance.
Unsurprisingly, the entrance of Theresa, George (guitar), Alex (bass/keys), and Robert (drums) was met with resounding excitement. Early on in their set list they played one of our little group’s favourites, “Creature”, which was great for getting everyone singing along and jumping around. This atmosphere continued throughout the night, particularly thanks to the fact that Theresa was a very engaging performer. During her songs, she wasn’t scared to get up close and personal with the audience, making the whole show very intimate. Sadly, I was a little too far back to fully experience that aspect, but this didn’t matter as she was also great at getting the whole crowd involved, for example by having everyone simultaneously crouch to the floor so that we could all jump up together after a bridge. Perhaps one of my favourite moments was when a group of rowdy guys had the audacity to boo her for saying she would be playing a slightly slower song, “Death By Love”, next; she didn’t skip a beat to call them out and tell them they could just leave if that was their attitude.
Throughout the gig, there were very few moments during which you couldn’t hear someone nearby passionately singing along word for word. It was abundantly clear that the fans really love Yonaka, a feature which I think is partially due to how the band’s outlook resonates with many people. I appreciated how they made sure to spend time describing the passion and inspiration behind their variety of lyrics and styles, particularly with regards to their new album ‘Don’t Wait Til’ Tomorrow’. In tribute to the ethos of this album, I’m including a quick reminder to everyone that it’s okay not to be okay and to not hesitate to reach out to those who may need it.
The band finished with some of their older and heavier songs that further electrified the mood and left everyone on a high, knowing that they’d had a great time. If you’d like to experience Yonaka yourself, their UK tour continues throughout May and June, and they will also be playing various festivals this summer such as Truck and All Points East. I’d highly recommend seeing them if you can; it was truly thrilling to get a chance to hear them live, and I look forward to discovering what the future has in store for a band like Yonaka.