Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen, collectively known as Years & Years, are rapidly becoming one of the most influential British bands of the 21st century, and their recent tour is definitely an indication of that, as two queues tailed around the Manchester O2 Apollo last Saturday (April 2), brimming with fans of all ages with one sole ‘Desire’: to become a part of the ‘Communion’.
Opening with the first song from that aforementioned album, the London-based band set the scene by performing ‘Foundation’ from behind a curtain of red lasers before bursting into ‘Shelter’.
Against a black backdrop displaying neon light shows emerging from the groups’ signature ‘Y’ symbol, Olly sported a colourful jumpsuit while Mikey and Emre wore black and white shirts and jeans.
To Olly, the stage was more of a dance floor in which he showcased his incredibly flexible moves, dancing like no one was watching. Not only the current ‘King’ of electro-pop, but Olly is likewise the king of the swingers and has masterfully perfected the art of the slut-drop – which drove the crowds wild.
Expressing his appreciation, Olly joined in the action by jumping off the stage and leaning over the barrier separating the king from the masses to shake hands with his loyal subjects. A sea of snapping claws, screaming fans desperately whipped out their iPhones to snap a selfie with the superstar, to which he gladly obliged.
The group made sure not to miss a single track from their album, playing all 13 songs as well as a snippet of their new song, See Me Now, which no doubt is bound to be a future hit.
The highlight of the show however was the groups’ performance of ‘Shine’ in which Olly stripped off his multi-coloured jumper and adorned himself in a rainbow flag, giving a shout-out to his LGBT fans. A burst of excitement erupted following the bridge as confetti cannons showered the audience in silver.
The boys’ most recent single ‘Desire’ was another favourite of the fans, and one fan in particular enjoyed ‘Eyes Shut’ as he joined Olly onstage. Perching closely by his side at his piano, Olly played beautifully and sang harmoniously, hitting every high note with effortless precision.
As music gigs go, none would be complete without a cover, and Years & Years’ song of choice was an unusual mash-up of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ and Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, which worked surprisingly well.
Returning onstage for an encore in sparkling, silver shorts, Olly was joined by his support act MØ, best known for her collaboration with Major Lazer in ‘Lean On’, for a cover of Brandy and Monica’s 1998 classic, ‘The Boy Is Mine’. Finishing the night before they “hit Canal Street” as Olly declared to the cheering crowd, the trio performed their first smash-hit, ‘King’, which had everyone bellowing and jumping along.
An exceptional, energetic and lively performance, the musical talent of the Years & Years trio is abundantly clear. Olly’s melodic voice is music to the ears, and his untamed dancing is quite a sight to behold. A small venue, the show was an intimate affair and Olly made sure of that by engaging closely with the audience throughout the night.
If this tour of their debut album is anything to go by, it seems Years & Years will be around for, well, precisely that.
Words: Tom Richardson