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Yard Act

Yard Act – UEA, Norwich

The “post-punk poster boys”, Yard Act, kicked off their ‘Dream Job’ tour in Norwich on Wednesday. Recently reviewed by the local rock legend, The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, he called them “f*cking awesome” and praised lead singer James Smith’s lyricism as “bullet-proof”. The fans were left with no doubt that this show would be “ace, top, mint” etc.  

Yard Act were supported by Gustaf, a fellow art-punk band hailing from New York, and they did not disappoint, with mosh pits forming within the first few songs. If you were grabbing a drink at the bar during the support you may have happened upon Yard Act inconspicuously dotted throughout the crowd paying their respects to their openers. Things of note in the Brooklyn band’s set were lead singer, Lydia Gammill’s rather large platform shoes and Tarra Thiessen with her strange assortment of percussion instruments including a soup tin? However, it all fit perfectly in the group’s image and complimented the wacky persona of the main event.  

Yard Act came on stage causing a huge furore of excitement in the crowd, bustling from the barricade to the bar. Starting just like their new album, they first play ‘An Illusion’, a toned down track which calmed the crowd- but only for its run time, because next on the setlist was ‘Dead Horse’ from their previous and debut album ‘The Overload’ gradually riling up the crowd. ‘When the Laughter Stops’ followed and the energy of the crowd was aided by bright, colourful lights, and thumping bass provided by Ryan Needham which highlighted the backing singers (one of which is ‘The Visitor’ from the series of music videos released for the new album) as well as the band, when singing Katy J Pearson’s verses.  

‘We Make Hits’ has proved right its title – the room erupting at its first few chords. The cynical comedy of the lyrics recited around the room. A spin-the-wheel element to the show once again caused excitement but it did not seem out of place in the set. An audience member was picked at random – spinning the game-show-esque wheel to pick the next song the band would play, landing on ‘The Trappers Pelts’ – a timeless track from the band’s early days, before their debut. Guitarist Sam Shipstone played extortionate riffs all whilst his hair was blown dramatically by the fan in front of him – of the electric kind, not an actual human – they’re not at that level yet, although Smith did let us know that drummer Jay Russell, “is now the proud owner of an Aga”.  

The band finished their set with an encore which included a hit from their last album ‘100% Endurance’ and a stand-alone single, and predecessor to ‘Where’s my Utopia?’, ‘The Trench Coat Museum’, almost ten minutes of improvised dance music and a choreographed dance routine excellence from backing singers Smith and Fitzpatrick, an aptly quirky end to a fantastic show. 

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