Date: 14th April 2018
Review by Lee Carter
Photography by Ryan Whitwell / Shotison
Finally, the UK had been permitted some sunshine and some seasonable warmth, and the weekend was met with what we Brits do best: supping beers outside in the sun. It’s the sort of thing that fosters a joyful upbeatness that’s largely absent during those wilderness months, and particularly conducive to enjoying oneself when listening to some good music. North London’s O2 Forum, Kentish Town, played host to tonight’s excitement, with the best possible man to embolden those buzzing attendees fresh from the pub: ANDREW WK.
It’s common knowledge throughout the music world that headliners are supposed to be the literal party-piece of the night: the culmination of all that came before and final cathartic throwdown before slinking off into the night. So your support act should be just that: a support. No frills, nothing crazy and certainly not in any danger of upsetting the apple cart and upstaging you. Fortunately for this balmy Saturday night’s king of craic, YONAKA are delightfully obliging.
The Brighton upstarts’ task was a reasonably easy one: warm up a crowd who were already in high spirits. Essentially, just keep the crowd ticking along and simmering away. No dramas, right?
Opening their set with the brash, bratty, hip-hop-influenced “Bubblegum”, YONAKA demonstrate a dependable brand of rock to get the toes tapping and heads bopping. Satisfyingly for an opening act, the mix was pure gold – crisp drums, crunchy guitars and crystal vocals and paid dividends in capturing the attention of newcomers to their sound. Featuring further cuts from their “Heavy EP”, including the spunky “Run” and the jumpy “Gods & Lovers”, alongside newer singles “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”, it’s a wonderfully varied set that admirably keeps the spirits in the room up.
Guitarist George Edwards, with guitar up around his throat, was arguably the biggest exponent of energy: headbanging like his neck muscles were spring-loaded, and thrashing about like a toddler in mid-tantrum – you could barely look away from the whirlwind six-stringer.
The crowd were certainly partial to it, as well as the rest of the band’s earnest enthusiasm. It’s rather encouraging when a support act gets to perform to a generous congregation, and YONAKA took it ably in their stride.
Rounding things off with the thrillingly rebellious “Fucking With The Boss”, it brings a clattering end to a simple and effectively raucous set. Simply, they proved able support. A no frills introduction to the night, Theresa Jarvis et al. provided a charming energy to proceedings and will have left the venue with heads aloft, sure in the knowledge that their evening’s work will have most certainly earned them a few new fans.
3. Gods & Lovers
6. Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya
8. Real Love
11. Fucking With The Boss
For all its simplicity, you can’t deny that ANDREW WK’s music is a thoroughly enjoyable affair. The staunch adherence to the “party” ethos has kept the man going for in-excess of fifteen years and the man is evidently grateful for the support of those gathered at the Forum, yet it could feel a little stale over that length of time. If it were, there is no evidence of that throughout the set as the crowd lap it up like dehydrated souls finding an oasis.
Even before the lights dim to herald the band’s entrance to the stage, there are demanding chants of “Party! Party!” And what other gig could you go to where the music and artist are so beloved, that people actually dress like the act they’re seeing (black metal shows-aside)?
Featuring a myriad of cuts from across the man’s career, ANDREW WK’s set is an unrelenting festival of fun. The crowd-surfing is at an absolute extreme, with all the consistency of the tides themselves, and the man of the hour only welcomes and encourages the frivolity.
It’s mindless indulgence from start to finish: from the epic new anthem “Music Is Worth Living For” to the riotous “We Want Fun”, with it’s hilariously blunt refrain of “we want fun and we’re gonna get wasted!”, the crowd are having a ragin’ time.
In fact, thought should be spared for the chap who spent most of his time crowd-surfing and losing his light-up shoes (at one point, one had reached the rear of the venue and was being held aloft like a trophy). Hopefully they eventually returned to his feet, though that’d make a great post-party story!
It’s a solid performance by the sheikh of shindigs and his band – the collective never put a foot wrong throughout the night and deliver thunderous renditions of “Party Till You Puke” and the seminal “Party Hard” with aplomb. ANDREW WK himself feeds almost unending energy to the crowd and draws from them in return: gyrating, fist-pumping and headbanging to his heart’s content, whilst never missing a single note.
The man knows his audience and delivers exactly what they’re after: a night so joyous, his promise that “You Will Remember Tonight” rings true. It’s one-track mind could feasibly grow tiresome, but the sheer level of enjoyment pulsating around the room ensures that patrons leave with very bright smiles going into the night.
Something about the day just seemed to set the scene for both YONAKA and ANDREW WK to knock out an ace show. The capital’s first taste of sunshine (after what feels like an extremely long winter) brought a palpable feel-good sense about the place. Condensed and concentrated down into the confines of the Forum, it ensured everyone was more than up for a night of rocking. From bands to fans, everyone was in the right frame of mind to make this The Big One. A great party.
Andrew WK setlist:
1. The Power Of Partying
2. Music Is Worth Living For
3. Ever Again
4. Take It Off
5. Ready To Die
6. She Is Beautiful
7. Tear It Up
8. You Will Remember Tonight
9. Party Till You Puke
10. Never Let Down
11. We Want Fun
12. Break The Curse
13. I Get Wet
14. You’re Not Alone
15. Violent Life
16. It’s Time To Party
17. Pushing Drugs
18. Party Hard