29th May 2019, The Monarch Camden, London

Words: Amy Butcher

Entering The Monarch, Camden’s iconic venue known for hosting smaller bands before they hit the big time, the place buzzed with pub punters chattering away as support Southbank Crows were setting up the stage pre-show. Having never heard of the London-based alternative rock band, I was pleasantly surprised to find I rather enjoyed the sounds Southbank Crows were giving us. What I love about seeing smaller bands live is they have that pre-gig nervous adrenaline rush which exudes as passion in their performance, something I find some of the big ‘uns lack in their live music. This band had just that.

Fuelled by an upbeat, energetic aura, yet delivering a soft hint of angst in their lyrics, I was left confused on where to put this four-piece in my brain’s music genre library and I think that’s what was part of their charm. It was clear pop-punk ran through the skeleton of their sound with Blink 182-esque harmonies and quieter guitar solos in the bridges, especially in tracks such as Sw9th. However adding keyboard and smoother guitar riffs, I found it intriguing to watch the interesting mesh of influences.

Still left impressed by Southbank Crows’ alt-rock-folk musings, it was time for headliner Yardlander. This was a special night as the gig was to mark the launch for their The Small Hours EP and having clutched onto the only three songs they had given listeners before this, I was extremely excited to not only listen to their new material but experience it live. Starting with the title track Small Hours, singer Oscar Koronka’s powerful vocals encapsulated the venue as strong bass lines, hard hitting drum beats and ferocious guitar riffs filled The Monarch. It was safe to say the sound they were producing was struggling to be contained and it was rare to be able to hear every intricate note.

Continuing through their old material, it was when they started to play my favourite song Oceans that I really saw them come into their own. Giving off proper 00s Radiohead vibes, fast-paced drums and groovy guitar melodies were intertwined as Oscar’s voice strung out effortlessly.  Yardlander hold a stage presence second to none; having been friends and a band for a while, this was evident as they interacted with one another, smiles on their faces enjoying the set. With the crowd made up of friends old and new, as well as the odd random member who just wanted to discover some new music on a Wednesday night, Yardlander fed off the intensely euphoric energy the audience were giving and multiplied it in their performance. Ending on On The Ropes, a 5/4 melancholic lullaby that randomly hits you in the gut during the loud bridge, we were left reeling from their set.

For those of you who have slept on Yardlander, now’s your time to wake up to what could be the next big thing for alt-rock guitar music. If you sit on them too long, you may miss the significant steps to the bands fruition and kick yourself for not listening sooner.

To catch Yardlander in action, you can catch them supporting Depression, Baby at the Old Blue Last in London on 2nd July. Tickets are available on DICE here.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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