Yonaka - Manchester Academy 2

Yonaka - Manchester Academy 2

Review by Zena Morris. Photos by Will Robinson

The fourth stop of the 'Welcome To My House' tour occurred at the prestigious Manchester Student Union in Academy 2. The event's highlight was the electrifying performance of the Brighton Rock band ‘Yonaka’. They did not disappoint by bringing their bold vocals and signature sound to the stage.  

The night's opening act was Mimi Barks, an independent trap-metal artist. She immediately grabbed the audience's attention with her haunting and mystical presence. However, her vocals were like a dark horse; hitting the listeners with a combination of calm, yet aggressive, tones. Barks' set kicked off the fierce night. 

The following performance was by a band called ‘Noisy’. It was a three-piece group that combined hip-hop, jungle and dance music genres. The band drew inspiration from ‘Pendulum’, ‘The Prodigy’ and ‘Skrillex’. Their performance was loud, energetic and engaging from start to finish, and they knew how to keep the audience entertained. They left everyone feeling energised and ready for the main event.   

After some time, smoke started to fill the stage. A familiar beat of 'By the Time You're Reading This' began to chant out, kicking off the show's explosive and powerful energy. A mixture of red, pink and white lights were used to showcase the intense lyrics of love and heartbreak; reminding us that we shouldn't be afraid to express ourselves in life.   

Yonaka’s lead vocalist, Theresa Jarvis, delivered a captivating performance by exposing two different sides of her personality. The high energy of 'Greedy' and 'Hands Off My Money' depicted themes of anger and frustration about those who are in control and who can be deemed selfish by not acknowledging the thoughts or feelings of others. So, it is about taking back control. A mixture of green, aqua, red and white lights were used to emphasise the bold lyrics of each song. 'PANIC' offers a glimpse into Jarvis’ personal life and struggles, making the audience feel more connected to her. 

Then, with 'Welcome To My House', Jarvis invited the audience into her imaginative mind, revealing her creative and innovative side.  Her ability to transition from being raw and honest in the previous song, to captivating and commanding grabbed the audience's attention. Theresa's performance of 'Give Me My Halo' was particularly impressive. She sang the acoustic version of the song with angelic vocals, matched with striking purple lighting. This combination gave off a powerful yet soft and tender emotion.  

'PREDATOR' was a perfect example of how visual effects can enhance the heavier tones, from bassist Alex Crosby, to guitarist George Edwards. The song was accompanied by flashing red and blue lights, which complimented the empowering and confidence-boosting lyrics, and matched the single's artwork; adding another special detail for the fans. The show ended fiery with the punchy lyrics of the encore 'Seize The Power', where the audience's thunderous claps could be felt as they roared for the band to return to the stage. The stand-out moment of the show was the contrast between these two songs.  

‘Yonaka’s performance was an absolute powerhouse; delivering both intimate acoustic tracks and electrifying rock anthems, with unrivalled fierceness. Each band member brought a different component, building a foundation of atmospheric and rhythmic sound that, alongside the lyrics, echos main themes of liberation, standing up for yourself and taking back your power. It is thrilling to see which direction their boundless creativity, passion and journey of self-liberation has taken them, and exciting to see how they will apply this to their live shows going forward.    

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