Published in the Student Advertiser
At the weekend, I entered the O2 Academy ABC for the first time with my eyes wide and receptive, full of expectation. Great, another Glasgow venue off the list! As I handed over my ticket to the steward at the entrance of the largest hall, the hall where, soon, Years and Years and their eagerly anticipated support act, Swedish, Tove Styrke, would grace the stage in moments to come, I felt the presence of a thousand drunken regrets engulf me. ‘Aw,’ my gig companion exclaimed, entering before me, ‘this is where Jellybaby is on a Thursday night!’
Almost immediately after finding our space respectively amongst the rowdy sea of keen music fans (I.e. that bit up at the far right where the pensioner seats are) Tove Styrke took to the stage with a great burst of tangy orange colour. Wearing boiler suits so potently dyed that the inmates of Orange is the New Black would have nodded in approval, the three-piece pop explosion, fronted by the eccentric vocalist and former Swedish Pop Idol runner-up of the same name, wasa mighty concoction of goosebump high notes and ‘dad dancing’.
Although the crowd only seemed to half-heartedly cheer them on, Stryke remained on top of her game throughout the entire performance, continually addressing the crowd with compliments and singing her catchy chart toppers with unrivalled exuberance. Borderline, the hit which peaked at no. 2 on the Swedish charts, proved to be the best known track aside from an incredible rendition of Britney Spears hit Hit Me Baby (One More Time) which found the crowd in full, guiltily pleasure swing. All in all, Styrke proved to be an extremely well-suited support act for Years and Years.
Taking to the stage not too long before the excitement of Stryke had dwindled out, Years and Years opened their gig in the same way they opened their album Communion – with the hit Foundation. The crowd were instantly drawn into frontman Ollie Alexander’s soul-defying vocals and the humility of his giddy, school boy persona. Continuing after further hits from Communion like Shine and Worship, the boys welcomed a young recipient of the Starlight Foundation’s wish granting scheme – a charity enabling sick children to have a dream realised, much like the Make A Wish scheme – who was treated to an exclusive rendition of Eyes Shut beside Ollie himself on piano. There were tears – and not just from the lucky girl, Jenny.
The band’s gig was shorter than expected, only lasting a total of 14 songs in total. However, from start to finish Alexander held the crowd in his bouncy hands. Closing with their best known, and most anticipated, hit King left the crowd clearly hungry for more techno-electric beats – at least that’s why I assume they reluctantly floated towards the exits to the beat of here we, here we, here we f***ing go…
Header image created by Rachael Procter
Background image courtesy of hamadmania.com