The Social is a really weird venue, it isn’t set up for a good gig but somehow Yak deliver an amazing one. Playing in a venue where half the audience are at tables the same height as the stage is tricky but Oli Burslem and co. didn’t look fazed one bit.
Playing a gig for Jack White’s Third Man Records probably gives you the confidence to know you’ve got talent but the heavy indie rock three piece take it to the next level. I have seen Yak a few times but never quite like this.
From the off, they were on a different level musically. They have always been great but tonight something was different. Each note was perfect, Oli Burslem’s vocal delivery was raw while holding a melody and Elliot Rawson’s drumming was wild but accurate. A perfect setlist left little time for the small mass of lucky thronging bodies to rest whilst each track seamlessly transitioned into the other with no need for Burslem to speak.
‘Harbour The Feeling’ starts off the raucous set and the moshing started from the off. ‘White Carnivore’ follows and gives no rest for the energetic crowd and merges into what seemed to me like the first new song of the night. Burslem walks along the tables at one point in his trademark style, disregarding the stage for a while and allowing his bare feet to risk stepping on knocked over pint glasses.
If Instagram is to be believed, Yak have started recording their second album and it feels like some tracks might be being aired for the first time at The Social but that doesn’t stop the crowd from being enthusiastic. Every person inside that venue knew how lucky they were. Yak are a band that have made big venues seem like their own on support tours and their stage presence at The Social makes the trio seem like gods.
The set closes with a one-two sucker punch combo of ‘Alas Salvation’ and ‘Hungry Heart’ which leave limbs flailing, bruises being created and items of clothing lost or ruined. Burslem finishes the gig by passing his guitar into the crowd for a while and that is something that makes Yak seem special. They can switch between rock icons and everyday people in a split second. They are incredible musicians but if you bumped into them in the street you probably wouldn’t think much of them.
Yak haven’t played regularly for a while now but if their recent gigs are anything to go by then they are going to blow UK music fans away whenever they next tour and I can’t fucking wait.