Between travelling to Greece with work, a funeral and a handful of gigs, June was a busy month for me. Spending a warm Wednesday night at the Wardrobe to see YONAKA was among all that.
Despite being female, I’ve always been someone a tad unsure about frontwomen in bands. Is it a bit tame? A bit safe? A bit like I’m 12 again and rinsing some Paramore? Sure, on the face of it, YONAKA have all the trappings of those (albeit usually unfounded) concerns, but I actually think Theresa Jarvis — who rocked up with bright, bold, blue hair — has insane vocal abilities. She’s a real performer as well, and consistently thanks the crowd for their time and participation. Crucial.
I arrived just in time to see the latter half of one of the supports’ sets. And man, what a performance The Ninth Wave put on. If you aren’t already familiar with them, immediately go and check out ‘New Kind of Ego’ and ‘Sometimes the Silence is Sweeter’. (Side note: sadly, their trip to Leeds ended in a pretty unsavoury fashion after their van was broken into and their instruments, other gear and laptops with saved recordings were stolen! Devastating doesn’t cut it.)
Female vocals and gutting theft aside, the gig itself was well worth the late night. The palpable power behind the more well-known offerings ‘Bad Company’ and ‘Lose Our Heads’ was something else. ‘Creature’ was executed to perfection and the catchy verses and chorus had everyone spellbound. As they were promoting their newly-dropped album, ‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’, it was all too apt to play that track, too. It was just as thought-provoking and speculative in person.
The room-shaking bass behind the ferocious ‘Fired Up’ kept energy levels way up there. But I found a new favourite in the fist-flailing ‘Punch Bag’, which delivered an angst that far outweighed the rest of the record’s tracks. It’s been on my gym playlist since and I reckon it even makes me type faster, too. After all, if you don’t leave a gig feeling pumped and eager to hear it all again ASAP, you ought to not bother going.