After what feels like years (and years), British electronic trio Years & Years made their Vancouver debut on Friday night at a sweaty, sold-out Commodore Ballroom.
Following the 2014 release of their single “Real,” the London lads made their way into global music blogs and personal playlists (mine included). And when their electropop album Communion dropped last year, it topped many music charts – and for good reason. The album is funky, upbeat, but also has a softer side. Throughout Communion, the lyrics are honest and catchy. It’s the kind of summer-sounding album to dance to alone in your room or in a sold-out music venue.
As the lights dimmed and the stage lit up in hues of red, the band began their set with the mellower “Foundation,” but soon transitioned into their single “Take Shelter.” From that moment on, the venue turned into a giant dance party lead by none other than lead singer, Olly Alexander.
Not a lot of male lead singers can wear a crop-top and shorts on stage and own it like Alexander. He did not just own it, he said that “boys in crop tops will be the next best thing.” The 25-year old singer, songwriter, and actor is also known for his role in the popular U.K series Skins. During the 75-minute gig, Alexander’s dance moves stole the show. Even when he took it down a notch for the slower tracks like “Memo,” it felt like all eyes were on Alexander as he sat and played the keyboard. Alexander, along with his bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen, were joined by two back-up singers and Vancouver drummer Dylan Bell. Alexander noted, “This is Dylan’s homecoming show,” and Bell’s enthusiasm was clear throughout the night. His drumming was flawless, giving the crowd beats to dance to.
The dance party continued as Years & Years covered Katy Perry and Drake (yes, Drake) in a interesting mix they call “Darkhorse Bling,” a clear crowdpleaser as everyone sang along to the “Hotline Bling” lyrics. The boys danced back into their originals, including the 80s influenced “I want your love” and sensational hit “Real.” Ending with an impressive live version of “King,” which included the back up vocals of practically everyone at the venue, Years & Years clearly have a loyal following in Vancouver. And with their first tour date selling out so fast, expect the group to return soon for another massive dance party.