Yak | Live Review

Yak + The Jesuits + Dead Wolf Club @ Start The Bus, Bristol. 19.02.15.

Start The Bus is teeming with familiar faces on Thursday night as the grim weather outside does its thing. Inside though, the pints are flowing and three diverse and equally compelling bands are about to take to the stage.

Up first are The Jesuits, happily basking in the delightful glory of the genres they mash. It’s still very early days for these guys as they’ve only a few live shows and demos behind them, but it’s clear a lot of people have turned out to appreciate the musicians tonight, with former members of legendary Bristol groups Towns and GuMM onstage. We’re treated to psychedelic tracks that remember the importance of hooks, which carve a lasting memory of their show. They end with the repetitive drones of ‘Like A Soldier’.

Dead Wolf Club are an odd one. It’s not entirely clear whether they’re really quite brilliant or just a bit off the ball. One thing that does spark our interest however is the singer’s over-the-top moves. It’s really quite an engaging show and it easily raises a smile amongst those in the crowd, despite them failing to share the rowdiness of the frontman. The songs are, above all, well executed and easy to get along with. I’d definitely be back to see them again, even out of curiosity.

Yak appear behind the humorously drawn curtain of the stage; they start the show playing without being seen until Big Jeff takes the initiative to unhook the drapes. Their presence brings the heavy-riffing of Black Sabbath with the snarly vocals of an early AC/DC. It’s a performance that’s psychedelic, intense and warm. The crowd understand when to throw themselves around and when to keep still; it’s a connection that shows a clear understanding of the band, even if this show is unlike anything we’ve seen before. There are Joy Division basslines, muddled with quieter points that have an air of Jim Morrison about them, but several moments throughout the set seem to throw any form of convention out the window altogether. The show ends in chaos as they rampantly draw the curtain again, then continue to play a haunting finale, during which the band are revealed for one last time.

This was the kind of night that only comes around once in a while, truly special.

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