Yonaka at SWG3

Music

Yonaka at SWG3

The band, Yonaka on stage at SWG3

It had been almost 5 years since I got to see Yonaka live and it feels strange to think of that as occurring in a time before the Covid 19 pandemic. So much has changed in my own life since then and the sound of the band has markedly evolved since those days too.

Still, I remain a big fan of the lead singer, Theresa’s kinetic performances and had looked forward to the gig for months despite the choice of venue. SWG3 is just damn cold. From the first time I was ever there, shortly after its unlikely conversion from a galvaniser’s yard into an events venue, I’ve felt freezing cold in there no matter what the time of year was.

As SWG3 is not particularly handy for public transport, I drove myself and my pal Emma up there so we could avoid traipsing about in the lingering winter weather. We parked pretty close by and made the two or three minute walk to join the back of the line to get in. Feeling the chill as dusk quickly turned to night in Glasgow, I was glad we weren’t kept waiting long but, even so, as I had feared SWG3 was as cold inside as it was outside.

I bought a pricey Yonaka tee shirt from the merch stand before we found a spot in the thin crowd maybe ten to fifteen metres from the stage. Perfect for seeing the acts without being inadvertently involved in any mosh pit antics that might unfold.

The first support act was a girl called Mimi Barks. She certainly had a striking stage presence – initially wearing a mask as she spat lyrics at the cold crowd before her. It seemed like only a small handful of folk knew who she was and head bobbed along to the verses sprinkled liberally with the word “bitch” and not much else we could discern.

The crowd never really seemed to warm to her despite her prompting us to “make some fucking noise, Glasgow!” Mimi’s sound was just not my cup of tea at all and I was relieved her set wasn’t a long one.

Next up were a band called Noisy and although I wasn’t keen on their opening numbers, they grew on me and the lead man’s personable tone and crowd interaction helped a lot there. They were likeable and their final three songs were quite the contrast from the opening rap-like numbers. I made a mental note to give them another listen at some point.

We didn’t have long to wait before the setup for the main act was complete and Yonaka came on stage one by one to generous applause. It was good to get my feet moving at this point as they were numb from the freezing concrete floor!

Five years is a long time in music and it seemed like the band had grown in stature in that time. Each song was performed flawlessly and it was brilliant to see Theresa bounding about on stage and using her body to animate the lyrics.

Late in the set she encouraged the crowd to form a corridor down the middle, which she then jumped down into to march up and down amongst us as she performed I Want More. It was a cool moment for sure but the security guy’s face was a mask of concern until Theresa was safely back over the barriers and on stage again.

To calm things down again we were treated to an acoustic version of Bring Me My Halo which was a great contrast compared to the high energy numbers in the rest of the set.

The tempo went back up again with PREDATOR and Rockstar to finish, with the encore coming in the form of Seize the Power. The 15 song set felt all too brief considering the songs that were left on the table. It was an evening that was definitely weighted in favour of their edgier material that’s come about since I last saw them live.

Once again, I enjoyed Yonaka immensely and I’ll be up for seeing them again when they return to Glasgow. Fingers crossed they play in a much warmer venue though!

Rob

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