By Susie Long, First Year Classical Studies
The energy at the Trinity Centre for Yard Act’s sold-out gig was electric - the old church transformed into a host for an entirely different congregation: the Bristol indie-rock scene.
The show was opened by Nuha Ruby Ra. Described as an avant-garde pop act, she brought an undeniably strong energy to the stage at Trinity. Her sound was wonderfully unique, and the live looping and sound engineering was impressive, but I must say I’m not sure she was my thing. Don’t get me wrong, Nuha Ruby Ra is a very powerful and impactful musician, but I personally found that the fully-immersive listening experience that she provided was, frankly, a little much. However, a lot of the audience were completely fascinated by her set, so I’d still suggest checking out her stuff if you’re looking for a new sound.
Yard Act started their set like they were greeting old friends - the audience interaction that came so naturally to frontman James Smith brought the crowd together in a really special way. As Smith put it, the rebellious nature of Bristol as a city lends itself well to the band’s music. Singing about capitalism and being Rich whilst brandishing a giant cardboard 50 pence was, whilst very entertaining, a cleverly subtle blend of satire and political commentary - all disguised as a well-crafted, catchy song.
The charisma and comedic quality that Yard Act brought to their set, paired with their talented musicianship, amounted to an amazing live music experience. I’m convinced that if you’d never heard a Yard Act song before, by the end of their gig you’d be a die-hard fan - the atmosphere that they create is contagious and definitely worth experiencing if you can.
Yard Act have the impressive skill of making mundane life into post-punk, activist anthems, made infinitely better by the incredible musicianship of the whole band. The lead guitarist, Sam Shjipstone, could captivate the entire crowd with his solos - it was impossible not to watch in amazement as he smashed it (sometimes literally!) on stage. And the drum and bass section, held down by Ryan Needham and Jay Russell, produced beats that were impossible not to dance along to.
For their encore, Yard Act brought Bristol-based Katy J Pearson onto the stage, performing a rendition of her song Miracle. Pearson is one of those singers who, when you watch her, you can tell will be around for a while. She has an amazing Kate Bush-esque quality to her voice which, alongside the intense sound that Yard Act is known for, was brilliant to listen to.
All in all, Yard Act’s gig not only displayed the very best that the band has to offer, but also demonstrated a wide range of new talent on the indie scene. If you haven’t listened to Yard Act before, I strongly suggest that you do, you won’t be disappointed. The band return to Bristol’s Marble Factory in November, so grab yourself a ticket for a guaranteed great time.
Featured image: Becca Hamman
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