A Tuesday night in Cardiff, and the Tramshed is the place you have to be when Brighton rockers Yonaka burst onto the stage, immediately engaging with a crowd of loyal fans. The exuberance and exhilaration in the room are explosive, with a strobe-filled stage momentarily freezing the movement of every band member.
Set opener Ordinary is a cue for moshpits and arms in the air, a whole venue uplifted by Yonaka’s energy and the vocal range of lead singer Theresa Jarvis. There’s a vibrant energy present the whole way through – a run-through of the quartet’s setlist staples, including a cover of Pat Benatar’s 80s radio rock smash Love Is A Battlefield, is followed by Jarvis and Yonaka guitarist George Edwards performing an acoustic version of their own Guilty (For Your Love) whilst sitting on the front of the stage, close and intimate with the audience.
Informed that today is Jarvis’ birthday, the audience responds with the Happy Birthday treatment – cue emotion and tears – and, by way of introducing recent hit Clique from last year’s Seize The Power, the frontwoman delivers an inspirational speech about perseverance. Come the song itself, Edwards scales a speaker for a solo.
The hits keep coming – F.W.T.B, from the soundtrack to Hobbs & Shaw, standing out here – and, to rising chants for one more song, Yonaka reclaim the stage with their inspiring hit Anthem. As the venue lights up with phone torches, it feels like this poignant hit about finding yourself and togetherness is instilling a real sense of unity and love in those assembled. It’s not the end, either, Yonaka ramping up the energy with fierce fan favourite Rockstar: during its final chorus, the crowd follows the band in crouching down before leaping up as the song climaxed. An explosive finale to a high energy show, and a night to remember.
Tramshed, Cardiff, Tue 8 Mar
words and photos ANTHONY CONWAY
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