YAK landed at the Brudenell Social Club in support of their second LP, ‘Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness’, released on Virgin EMI. The lead up to album release had been one of regular interviews documenting singer/guitarist/main creative force Oli Burslem’s struggles to get a follow-up to 2016’s ‘Alas Salvation’ amidst international parties and a spell living out his car. But now the album was done, had YAK’s reputation for fearsome live shows survived the troubles?
The evening was kicked off by the mystery that is the genre-less Faux Real: consisting of two men and a backing track (with the occasional flute cameo), their matching white denim jackets were soon discarded as they floated around the Brudenell audience. Local boys Mush followed: hot off the heels of their new single ‘Litvineko’ and with an upcoming EP promised, the Brude-regulars proved why they bagged the support slot for much of YAK’s tour.
YAK opened the main event with ‘Heaven’s Above’ before moving into one of the new album’s standouts, ‘White Male Carnivore’. Initially the crowd seemed slow and steady, with the majority choosing to stand and bob along pleasantly, but of the reckless energy I’d gone in expecting. A few numbers in however and the energy from the dedicated core down at stage-edge started to spread around the mid-refurb main room. By the advent of ‘Bellyache’ half way through the set, the crowd is fully engaged. Burslem gets his Hendrix on, foot resting on cocked-wah pedal whilst strumming on his fuzzed-up Fender. The band continued to storm through tracks new and old, including ‘Pay Off vs. The Struggle’ and ‘Fried’.
The rhythm section of Vincent Davies (bass) and Elliot Rawson (drums) form the sonic backbone of the three-piece, not flashy but solid, allowing eyes to remain fixed upon the shoeless frontman as he switches between microphone and megaphone. The night reaches its climax with Burslem launching himself into the ready arms of the crowd, before walking upside down along the roof of the Brudenell, held aloft by the pit.
Post-‘Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness’, YAK feel like the complete live act. The more mellow tunes off the album like ‘Words Fail Me’ and the title track fit in well to the chaos initiated by the rowdier numbers. The set feels solid. The band guide the audience through the soft and the hard well. Any doubts about YAK maintaining first album-momentum were well and truly put to bed.
Catch the group in May/June as tour support for FOALS.
Words by Leo Joslin, Pictures by James Ward