Friday nights in Sheffield are a complex affair. You can stumble upon ‘acousmatic’ compositions played in grand halls from 32 speakers. You can find yourself dancing crazily to an eclectic mix of 80s and techno. Or you can enjoy live bands playing at any of the many venues across the city.
For me, this particular Friday combined all of the above in an action-packed night. But Yonaka‘s gig in Frog & Parrot was definitely a highlight.
This four-piece from Brighton (describing their music on Facebook as dark pop, alt rock and heavy riffs) has just finished a tour around the country. After sold out gigs in Birmingham, Manchester and London, it must have been a disappointment to find themselves in a tiny bar that is more a beer stop than a music venue. On a Friday night, it caters to a drunken crowd, rather than music lovers.
It didn’t help that Forte, who were supposed to play with them, pulled out at the last minute. They were replaced by a solo artist Casey Lowry. As he himself mentioned a few times, he was not prepared for this night. He played a few pop covers, but they didn’t leave any lasting impression.
I noticed before the gig that the band seemed quite concerned about the depleted audience and the surroundings. But they took it like a pro and, from the first chords, I knew it would be an amazing experience.
Tight riffs flew through the night. The lead singer, Theresa Jarvis, started to enchant the audience not only with her sensual voice, but also her theatrical moves. Under her spell, rowdy talks stopped to give way to an appreciation of the performance. George Edwards, Alex Crosby and Robert Mason acted out the rhythm as if it was alive. The energy they carried sparkled brighter than the premature Christmas decorations.
As I mentioned before, this was not the place for spontaneous ventures to the nearly non-existent dance floor. People stayed stuck to their pints and chairs, shyly tapping their feet under the tables.
In over 40 minutes, the show was over. The band didn’t want to come out again for “one more” (despite the audience requests). I look forward to Yonaka’s return, hopefully to a more suitable venue.