THE British electropop band, Years and Years, paid a return visit to Manchester on April 2. Our entertainment reporter, Abi White, was there to review the evening…

With the band’s debut album released in July 2015, the band has risen to extreme success in such a short space of time. However, with their catchy pop songs and a brilliant energetic stage presence, the band has most definitely earned their fame.

Having only last visited the northern city back in October 2015 at the Albert Hall, the London based trio were welcomed once again with another sell-out show and open armed from the excitable Manchester audience.

As fans of all ages and genders piled into the venue, the audience were met with the two support acts of the evening: Nimmo, and Copenhagen’s very own, MO. With both support acts very fitting with the headline act, they managed to satisfy the audience and set the perfect vibe ready for Years and Years.

Singer and songwriter, MO, certainly put on an impressive performance, encouraging the crowd to dance along to tracks performed by her and her band. Dancing around the stage in her Nike crop top teamed with a striking hairstyle, the versatile singer gave off a confident, yet cool impression, and undoubtedly left a positive and lasting impression on the audience.

MO supporting Years and Years at O2 Apollo, ManchesterAfter a short break, ‘Foundation’, the ambient track off Years and Years’ debut album started to slowly fill the room, leaving the audience fixated on the stage waiting for the band to emerge. Red lasers filled the darkened stage before the echoing and recognisable vocals of front man, Olly Alexander, sparked even more excitement within the audience.

With such a dramatic entrance, the band didn’t hesitate to liven up the set in true Years and Years style shortly after, playing the two popular upbeat songs off the album, ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Worship’. The three played songs had already included impressive light displays, lots of dancing and brilliant execution of the tracks from the electronic band; showing a great deal of promise for the rest of the set.

#lasergod @ollyyears

A video posted by Warren glove boy years (@warrenyears) on

Not only do the band have a fantastic stage presence and the ability to keep an audience entertained during the livelier songs, the unique vocals of Alexander were also exposed during the raw and simplistic tracks, ‘Memo’ and ‘Eyes Shut’. With just a talented voice and an accompanying piano – these fixating performances delivered by the front man captivated the audience.

Sandwiched in-between these two tracks was a new song from the band, and their hit, ‘Shine’. Having not long since released the accompanying pro-LGBT music video to their current single, ‘Desire’, during ‘Shine’, Alexander sported and certainly embraced a large LGBT flag.

thank you for making me feel safe and accepted.

A photo posted by suvi (@suvinevan) on

In an open letter adding context to the ‘Desire’ music video, Alexander commented: “Most of the pop videos I’ve seen that have any male and female interaction are usually centred around a romance, and that’s great, I am all for romance, but let’s face it there are a lot of other sexualities and identities that are well deserving of some shiny pop video love.”

As far as front men go, Years and Years couldn’t have landed itself with a better front man than Alexander. His versatility across a range of different songs really stood out, and he was a real hit with every member of the audience. His warmth and friendly personality only radiates around the room, and it’s brilliant to see his confidence when interacting with the crowd.

An interesting cover was also performed by the band, which was a mash-up of the Katy Perry hit, ‘Dark Horse’, combined with the infamous ‘Hotline Bling’ from Drake. This cover certainly satisfied the over-excitable crowd, instantly surprising them when the Katy Perry track soon transitioned into ‘Hotline Bling’.

Filling their set with their signature songs from their debut album, the band delivered an impressive performance of their tracks teamed with copious amounts of confetti and a brilliant visual light display, before playing their last song prior to their encore, ‘Desire’.

Upon their return, the band performed another cover with Olly performing a duet with the support act, MO, of the 1998 hit from Brandy & Monica: ‘That Boy Is Mine’. This exciting duet only lived up the audience even more for the final track of the night: ‘King’.

Arguably the bands most popular single, every audience member went into hysteria for the track and it proved the perfect song to end the evening on.

The London three-piece certainly marked their territory here in Manchester after delivering such a brilliant and exciting performance, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be welcomed once again by the Manchester audiences in the future.

By Abi White

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