The Norwich UEA filled up very quickly on the 10th October 2015 for the Years & Years gig, with the majority of fans being young students, although there was a mix of older people (these tended to be parents accompanying their children, however there’s no dispute on their enjoyment of the show too). The atmosphere in the venue varied, with the juxtaposition between the two support acts creating two very different moods in the crowd. The first support act, Oscar Key Sung, managed to bring a chilled mood to the crowd (despite some upbeat music he performed), settling the crowd into the venue nicely before the second support act, Tove Stryke, who brought energy and hype along with them to the stage and had the crowd buzzing by the time Years & Years made their way onto stage.
There’s no denying that lead singer Olly Alexander’s high energy and cheeky smile on stage is an integral part to the electronica band’s success in their live performances. Starting the show with their slower of songs, ‘Foundation’, he managed to show the crowd immediately his vocal talents that unbelievably their official tracks don’t quite manage to fully express. However the crowd anticipated something more upbeat and their unspoken requests were met almost immediately after the first song, with the band jumping into ‘Take Shelter’.
This more upbeat song allowed not only the crowd to feel more able to dance around, but gave Olly an excuse to show to the crowd his undeniably adorable dance moves. There didn’t seem to be a moment (apart from when he was sat down to perform a ballad type song) where he wasn’t grooving and moving his hips about, owning the stage and shining that endearing smile between concentrated singing faces.
Alexander further expressed his energy with the crowd by proceeding to later jump down from the stage and dance against the barrier, fans clambering over each other to try and get closer to him. He held hands with a few fans while singing before giggling as he climbed back up on stage. The crowd interaction didn’t stop there though, as Olly Alexander pulled a girl named Lily up from out of the crowd to dance with her on stage. Much to her delight, the two danced together on stage, (with impressive ‘slut drops’ from the both of them) entertaining the crowd. Years & Years finished their ecstatic cover of ‘Breathe’ by Blu Cantrell with fangirl Lily’s arms wrapped tight around his waist, Alexander’s own arm placed around her shoulder. It was a sweet sight to the whole Norwich crowd that further expressed the young artist’s caring and delightful attitude towards fans.
The show continued to be a delight to the crowd, the stage lighting managing to almost steal the show by itself. Intricate lights arranged in the Years & Years logo flashed and vibed along to the music in time, different coloured lights matching the mood of the songs.
The perfect way to finish the show after chants of an encore was with the band’s first hit single, ‘King’, the crowd literally jumping for joy as the first few opening notes blasted out and band members Olly, Emre and Mikey all radiating a glow of happiness at the crowd’s buzzing reaction. Mikey even made his way out from behind his ‘booth’, playing bass guitar in the centre of the stage as Olly allowed room for the crowd to adore him. The stage lighting had transformed to the rainbow colours of the Years & Years official album cover, and the crowd danced feverishly until the very last note.
Comparing this show to their last one in May at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend that I had attended beforehand, it was obvious that the whole band had grown in confidence, absorbing the crowd’s extremely positive reaction and putting that positivity into their performance. All in all, Years & Years did a smashing job in wowing the crowds in Norwich, and I’m pretty sure they’d be welcome and anticipated back there again sometime soon.