YEARS & YEARS + L DEVINE + QUEER HOUSE PARTY – BRIGHTON CENTRE 19.5.22
A gorgeous sunny Thursday evening in Brighton saw Olly Alexander (now officially flying solo as Years & Years) and his entourage sweep into the Brighton Centre for the opening evening of the ‘Night Call’ Tour in support of Years & Years’ accomplished third album which was released in January and went to the top of the UK Album charts. This international tour runs though the summer and autumn taking in cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Milan, New York amongst others and finishes in Melbourne Australia on 12th November so the people of Brighton were privileged to experience it first.
The evening kicked off with 5 strong DJ and dance collective ‘Queer House Party‘ an energetic quintet consisting of LGBTIQ+ front-line workers who began their award-winning ‘lockdown throwdowns’ online during the pandemic era. Now playing some big stages to live audiences, they certainly got the party up and running by twerking and jerking to some great mixes from the likes of Tatu, Ashnikko, Azealia Banks, Kylie, Black Eyed Peas and many more. By playing in the second interval also, they ensured there was no let up in the tempo before the main show. They declared they were hosting an after-party at the Green Door Store until 4 a.m. so those with the stamina will have had a blast until dawn.
Support this evening was very talented 24-year-old English singer-songwriter Olivia Devine (aka L Devine) who took to the stage with two bandmates, one on guitar, the other keytar for a minimally-lit atmospheric set. Signed to Warner, L Devine has amassed almost 650,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, speaks for a sexually awoken generation through her music and can count Charli XCX as a fan and a collaborator (on her track ‘Peer Pressure’).
Highlights of her set included the catchy ‘Like You Like That’ and electronic heavy ‘Priorities’ (where the crowd were encouraged to join in). However, the best track for me was the poignant solo acoustic ‘Daughter’ sung with undiluted emotion. There were a couple of unreleased tracks making their debut, ‘Eaten Alive’ and ‘Push it Down’ and they sounded good. An excellent half-hour was closed out with the bass heavy and up-tempo‘ Runnin”.
After a short break it was time for Olly (Years & Years) to make his entrance – and what an entrance it was, the large screen showing him running to a phone box and emerging from it on stage launching straight into the opening track ‘Night Call’ which was a cracking opening and from that moment on, I knew this was going to be a brilliant performance.
Olly was joined on stage by original band member Mikey Goldsworthy, a drummer, three talented backing singers and five main dancers.
Three more tracks from the current album followed, ‘Sweet Talker’, ‘Consequences’ and ‘Sooner Or Later’. All of these tracks sounded great live and are testimony to the consistency of the ‘Night Call’ album. Then we saw the introduction of my personal Years & Years favourite track ‘Shine’ with backing singers complimenting Olly’s strong vocal perfectly. We were then back to the ‘Night Call’ album with bass-heavy dance-worthy ‘Muscle’, a fantastic track with definite hit single potential.
Next up were two hit collaborations, ‘Play’ (originally with DJ Jax Jones) and ‘Sunlight’ (released with Belgian DJ and producer The Magician) which both sounded stunning played live and utilised the backing singers to their full effect. ‘Sanctify’ and ‘Worship’ saw a line of toilet cubicles appear on stage for a raunchy dance routine.
For me, the best track of the set was a blistering rendition of dance-pop hit ‘Desire’ with a demonic background projection of Ollie’s face and huge rolling eyes which was followed by current single ‘Hallucination’.
There was a brief interlude for an on-stage marriage proposal and I’m happy to say the answer was ‘Yes’. The tempo was then dialled down for the tracks ’20 minutes’ and ‘Eyes Shut’ which saw Olly playing a grand piano with his backing singers accompanying on vocals. He then transformed the atmosphere once more by leaping up and performing a sonically and visually dazzling cover of the Pet Shop Boys hit ‘It’s A Sin’ , more than making the song his own.
‘Crave’ saw Olly writhing around on a giant bed on stage which was followed by the 2021 single release ‘Starstruck’ which sounded amazing live.
This show was absorbing from the first minute to the last, the time quite literally flew by. The costume and scenery changes were slick, it was visually striking and every single track was a winner. I liked the fact that Years & Years eschewed the usual clichéd encore as this set didn’t need to resort to that, and the night was duly closed out with a power-packed performance of debut UK No 1 hit single ‘King’ .
If you haven’t caught this feel-good tour yet, it’s absolutely essential that you do. Without a doubt, this was one of the best concerts I have witnessed for a while and there was a very palpable buzz around the audience as they departed the Brighton Centre into a mild May night on a high.
Years & Years setlist:
‘Sooner Or Later’
‘Hallucination’ (current single)
‘Up In Flames’
‘It’s A Sin’ (Pet Shop Boys cover)
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