I’m still basking in the radiance of SXSW even though it’s been a nice week back in jolly old London. Mentally, I think I’m still on holiday in Austin as I’ve been telling all my curious friends and colleagues that I’ve FINALLY I’ve found my perfect holiday. Tropical beach and hours of laying around in the sunshine, nah – give me cheap amaretto sours and endless week of quality live music programming and I’m a happy camper. Throw in some tex mex, BBQ and a yummy American breakfasts at IHOP and Denny’s and I’m a happy bunny.
One of the bands that was an everyone’s must-see list at SXSW was none other than Years & Years. After taking the coveted prize of the BBC Sound of 2015 crown earlier this year (hey, I voted on that), Years & Years have been on a massive fast-track to superstardom with no less than 6 shows at SXSW and wowing a critical crowd in LA immediately after as well. My Facebook was blowing up with west coast industry friends falling in love with Years & Years after seeing them wow the crowd at Troubadour in LA for the very first time.
At SXSW, I was treated to an afternoon show by Years & Years which was a joy to witness and quite fun. About 300 people packed into the outdoor stage of the Universal Music Group Experience at the Palm Door on 6th Street. This event highlighted all of Universal’s new signings and I think just about everyone I ran into at SXSW had at least 3 of the 22 showcasing artists on their must-see list.
I think the biggest takeaway from this gig for me was the fact that frontman vocalist Olly Alexander genuinely looked well-chuffed to be there and couldn’t quite believe how far the band have come since the beginning of the year. His performance was nothing short of humbling and just downright cute – something that even had the boys in the crowd proclaiming ‘Olly I love you!’ causing Mr. Alexander to blush quite noticeably, even with a mild hangover in tow. I can be quite judgemental during live shows and easily distracted, but Years & Years had me in attention-grabbing lockdown throughout. With hit after hit like ‘King’, ‘Take Shelter’ and the massive ‘Desire’ being effortlessly belted out, the SXSW pundits were all bopping along euphorically as if it was 1992 all over again.
2015 is going to be THE year for Years & Years. I’ve already said that their ‘Communion’ album is my most anticipated of the year so far (hurry up June 22nd) and it will be very interesting to watch them grow and develop as an electronic trio this year. You can bet I’ll be going along to their next show in London for sure.