Live Review Yak, Scala, London 27th October 2016

Here at the Scala, Yak more than live up to their reputation.

Tonight, Yak come with a sax player in tow, something of a surprise given their hard alt-rock sound. But it makes the introduction of ‘Harbour the Feeling’ feel complete, and acts as a nice foil as the band hurdle into a set rife with clattering percussion and frantic riffs. 

Frontman Oli Burslem dashes between two microphones with his long hair falling in his eyes to deliver his snarling vocal. Yak have gained a reputation as one of the UK’s more riotous rock ’n’ roll bands, and their performance this evening makes it easy to believe the hype. During tracks like ‘Curtain Twitcher’ and recent single ‘Heavens Above’ the rhythm section hold the fort with a tight groove while Oli dives out into the crowd. 

When he isn’t being passed around the room, he switches rapidly between hacking out chords on his guitar and playing sharp bursts on his synth. Tonight’s performance is particularly impressive towards the end of the main set, as an extended airing of ‘Use Somebody’ builds into a frenzy. 

As encore closer ‘No’ comes to its shattering conclusion, the stage crew reel Oli back from the mob in front of the stage by his mic lead. Back onstage, he hauls his guitar up over his head and drives the headstock squarely into the ground. The much abused instrument cracks in half and is cast aside, and Oli takes his place in front of his keys again, which is thankfully spared a similar fate. The drum kit isn’t so lucky. As Yak traipse off stage, drummer Elliot Rawson tips it over with a crash, bringing an end to the night. Here at the Scala, Yak more than live up to their reputation. 

Photos: Lindsay Melbourne

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