Years And years

Years & Years have almost become a household name since being crowned the BBC’s Sound of 2015, but in the wake of previous winners who are now globally recognised, such as 50 Cent, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding; it’s worth considering whether this title is a blessing or a curse. Once such great expectations are placed upon the exceptionally talented, it’s a matter of whether outcomes meet predictions, but Years & Years are seemingly already well on their way to reaching the heights they’ve set sights on.

Opening proceedings are youthful outfit Zibra, who make the most of their early stage time by welcoming the early birds with their compelling brand of colourful glitch-indie. In a short set, they manage to convey a full-sounding concoction of electronic melodies, overlaying indie grooves familiar to the likes of Imagine Dragons. Their performance is well-oiled, absorbing and confident, but there’s only so much that can be achieved when you’re playing to a half empty venue of people who are still debating the contents of their first round from the bar. Judging by their performance tonight and recent touring status for Saint Raymond, things are bound to start happening for this band sooner rather than later. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for a headline date in the near future.

Main support comes in the form of Black Butter Records’ finest; Sam Sure, a soulful singer songwriter who injects deep thumping rhythm into progressive structures. Through infusing electronic elements and reverb soaked vocals, he creates a smooth and ethereal sound. It’s a stunning rendition of recent single “Hunger” that truly highlights the power of his purposeful, emotive lyrics and snappy wordplay, as the quality of this single suggests that Sure could easily break the mainstream by staying true to his unique style and distinct craft as a wordsmith. It may not be as up-tempo as some will have hoped for, but the uplifting sounds built within each subtle hook allow every bold bassline and progressive structure to leave an impact. Sam Sure is an inspired artist boasting every fibre of talent and originality, but he will only deliver his true capacity once he masters his live sound. Once the genuine essence of quality in his song-writing is matched by the precision of his live performance, he’ll dazzle crowds across the globe in no time.

It’s Saturday night in Nottingham; the venue is jam-packed, the pungent aroma of spirit and mixer is rife in the air and everyone is here for one reason…Years & Years have arrived. The atmosphere heightens exponentially until the band emerges, making it crystal clear that they have already managed to dwarf the requirements to headline venues of this size. Unfortunately, below-par sound duties result in an underwhelming entrance, as the pulsating basslines cause Olly Alexander’s vocals to be virtually inaudible. However, by the time the balancing act is over and the chorus of “Desire” kicks in, the requirement for any vocals becomes obsolete as the audience roars the infectious hook back in passionate chorus. Channelling the smooth, pop-infused RnB essence of Sam Smith and the infectious, pulsating rhythm of modern club anthems, Years & Years have captured the very essence of what is deemed “popular” nowadays through their own brand of striking hooks and soulful melodies.

Years And years

Realistically, this intimate tour acts as a trial run ahead of the release of the trio’s highly anticipated debut album, as with only a couple of releases to their name, the band have been forced to keep back the majority of their material ahead of their expected rise to fame. Their performance is certainly impressive and needless to say, every member of the crowd is firmly in the palm of their hands, but you can tell that the band are still getting used to the idea of their success. In short, their performance is exciting, but not mesmerising. When you’re placed on the thrown with little to offer to the public, it’s a simple matter of persevering to earn your place at the top. Years & Years have all the makings of global success, but judging by the bewildered expression on Olly Alexander’s face as he holds the mic out for the final chorus of soon to be chart topper ‘King’, their performance signals that this band still have a lot to learn. If the band discovers their true potential then they could well be headlining Glastonbury in a matter of time…but then again, they could end up circling the toilet circuit off the back of their former expectations. Personally, I’m predicting enormous success based on the seemingly endless potential this outfit possesses, but only time will tell. I can’t help but think back to that classic old saying; with great power, comes great responsibility.


Words by George Fullerton.

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