PR executive, freelance writer and UoB graduate living, working and writing in Brum.
The heavily packed crowd at The Institute February 26 were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Years & Years to the stage. Since supporting Clean Bandit and Sam Smith last year Olly Alexander (vocals), Emre Turkmen (synths/beats) and Mikey Goldsworthy (bass) have enjoyed multiple successes as they were awarded BBC Sound of 2015 and were runners up for Critics Choice at the Brits this year. Thursday night was the opening night of their very first headlining tour and the excitement was tangible. Support was Sam Sure who provided a vocally excellent and diverse performance that spanned multiple genres, taking elements of rock, dnb, house and indie pop. Despite their interesting sound the support act struggled to captivate the audience who were audibly impatient for Years & Years. Aware of this Sam Sure didn’t even introduce himself and instead repeatedly asked the audience how excited they were for Years & Years and endearingly kept promising not to play too many more songs. Olly Alexander, lead singer of Years & Years leapt onto the stage alongside multiple spotlights sounding and looking ethereal. Recognizable from his acting success, starring in Great Expectations and in the final series of Skins, Olly is evidently a man for the stage. He clearly loved being there, dancing during performances and laughing in between them, apparently in disbelief at his loud, crazy and amazing fan base even saying “It’s so cool you’ve all come and are all singing along!” They began with ‘Take Shelter,’ their fourth single, the singing and cheering of the crowd almost drowned out the band. This was followed by their fifth hit single ‘Desire’, which hit no 22 in the UK single’s chart. They gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and I was very happy, as they’d play my two favorite songs within the first 10 minutes. They then treated the audience to some new material that the Birmingham crowd was the first to hear. It went down really well and had the same spacey pop vibes of their other singles. Emre and Mikey later stepped away as Olly sung and played on piano ‘Ready For You’, a song that he had written recently. He has an incredible unique voice and it was a beautiful performance. My only disappointment was that they didn’t play their cover of Blu Cantrell’s ‘Breathe’ available on their Take Shelter EP. Their final song was their new single ‘King’ set to release on March 1 that was named ‘Hottest Record of the Day’ by Zane Lowe. It was a great ending to a great set.