Gig Review – Tove Styrke + Years & Years

O2 Academy 18/10/15

By Sarah Muir


Years & Years playing the O2 Academy Glasgow supported by Tove Styrke was a high-energy night, the crowd and the acts feeding off one another. In fact, one of the best nights of music I have been to. Would recommend.

The warm-up DJ/singer was good yet unremarkable, excepting for a well-timed and flawlessly executed slutdrop. He did, however, set a theme of endearing stage acts for the night as he adorably engaged with the crowd to a level that the (above average age) audience should have denied him.

Tove Styrke landed on stage with a drummer and guitarist, all in orange, with Tove in baggy shorts, a prison-style jacket and a half up top knot. They looked every bit as cool as a young Swedish success story should… think early Gwen Stefani meets Cara Delevingne. She performed flawlessly, as you would expect from an established European artist who came 3rd in the 2009 Idol for Sweden at just 16 years old. Tove delivered a passionate performance with the kind of slick moves and skilful vocals that you would expect from a singer songwriter fierce enough to make a shout out to Queen Bee in her new album ‘Kiddo.’ A good portion of the crowd dance along, some even knowing lyrics to ‘Borderline’ from her previous album and then her cover of Britney’s classic ‘(Hit me) Baby One More Time’ which had a strong a funk-influenced guitar opening which was then fused with her own electropop style. Her music is stirred with many influences from reggae to 90s pop and she fuels the crowd with empowering lyrics, “I know that you feel like pop doesn’t really have a clue, But even if I’m loud doesn’t mean I’m talking to you.”

Tove Styrke speaks to a generation who want to be heard; who want freedom.

Years & Years’ truly charming Olly Alexander (you may have seen him in Skins or The Riot Club) provided everything you could hope for from a frontman; he seemed delightfully overwhelmed by the audience’s appreciation of band member, Emre Türkmen’s, cuddly toy cat on his keyboard. Mikey Goldsworthy on bass guitar makes up the ‘BBC Sound of 2015’ winning trio, with the addition of a drummer and two very cool backing vocalists for this gig. They performed their album ‘Communion’ to an 7m high LED backdrop fashioned like their album cover which pulsated in tune with their songs, setting the mood for a night of dancing and entrancing. Their popular singles ‘King’ and ‘Shine’ are sung as much by the audience as Years & Years, with Glasgow’s enthusiastic refrain of “Here we, here we, here we fucking go” pushing the group to higher energy levels which they momentarily controlled in a heartfelt moment as a girl’s Starlight Children’s Foundation wish came true as she sat on stage next to Olly. During ‘Ties’, Years & Years’ trademark vulnerability shone through:

“Are you having fun? Oh, tell me how did it feel? Did it all get too real for you? Everybody’s screaming out your name, Are you scared?”

The group stand for the damaged, hopeful, adolescent life: enjoying themselves and reaching out for something more.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);