To play three shows in three cities on the same day is no mean feat. Naturally, when Yard Act found themselves in a race for number one, they had to one-up themselves and add a fourth show on Thursday 27th January, breaking all curfews for an 11pm set in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Whilst The Overload would end up in the number 2 spot, it did not stop Yard Act from breaking the 21st century record for a debut album’s vinyl sales. Yet, it was cassettes that were being dispersed among the audience by Island Records’ marketing manager - in a hi-vis jacket, no less - much to the humour of frontman James Smith. The irony of the whole campaign was purely ‘just funny’, given the album’s anti-capitalist undertones, and Yard Act’s fanbase did indeed play along and empty their pockets for the cause (myself included).
Opening with ‘The Overload’, a staple of this year’s FIFA soundtrack, Yard Act exploded into the finished article that has been fine-tuned at their numerous performances at their beloved Brudenell over the years. Energy, charisma and class was the order of the day, encapsulated by guitarist Sam Shjipstone’s monstrous tone that echoed through the room. The contrast between the lightning-fast ‘Witness (Can I Get A?)’ and the thought-provoking ‘Tall Poppies’ showcased the band’s versatility, with their iconic witty lyricism prevailing throughout the set.
As the clock approached midnight, the energy ramped up a notch as the crowd descended into pandemonium for ‘Dark Days’ and ‘100% Endurance.’ The community spirit in that room, all part of this incredible journey, was cherished by both band and crowd. Famous faces such Premier League referee Jon Moss (who opened with a DJ set) and BBC Introducing’s Emily Pilbeam were there to witness one of the hardest working bands in the industry at the climax of their whirlwind week.
The Overload is out now, and whilst Yard Act’s next two Leeds dates are sold out, you can see them at the O2 Academy Leeds on Thursday 24th November.
By Rishi Shah
Photo from - https://chuffmedia.com/artists/yard-act