Yard Act, Nick Rayns LCR, 14th March 2024

Yard Act kicked off their 2024 UK tour in Norwich fresh from the release of their second album Where’s My Utopia. I first saw Yard Act back in 2022 when they played a sell out gig at Norwich Arts Centre. For me this was one of the standout gigs of 2022 so I hope tonights return visit will be equally memorable.

The evening kicks off with Brooklyn Art-punks Gustaf who are completely new to me. You might be forgiven for thinking this a female version of Yard Art as their sound isn’t a million miles from Yard Act’s. Lead singer Lydia Gammill appears moody cool as she dominates the stage. I get the feeling you probably wouldn’t want to mess with her on a dark night. I’m totally enthralled by the choppy guitar and driving rhythm. It’s the first time I’ve seen a percussionist use a tin of custard powder as an instrument. I’ve loved the set which did seem to be over far to soon but I’ll definitely be looking out for them in the future.

As Yard Act come on stage, you can’t fail but notice that singer James Smith has ditched the trade mark trench coat. The band are also all wearing orange tops. Without further ado we are straight into An Illusion from the new album. I haven’t yet warmed to the new album which appears to be a move in a new direction for the band but it still delivers satire in spades. It’s nice to hear the new songs played live. Dead Horse returns us to the debut album with many in the audience singing along. Delivering the songs, James could almost to be a cross between Jarvis Cocker and John Cooper Clark. There’s a tongue in cheek arrogance that makes him entertaining rather than irritating.

I was worried that The spin the wheel to pick the early song game was in danger of being very cheesy 70’s game show. I was completely wrong as it proved very entertaining. No one was complaining when The Trapper’s Pelts was chosen.

During the evening we are treated to last year’s singles Dream Job, Petroleum, and We Make Hits, before the evening draws to a close with 100% Endurance and The Trench Coat Museum which with nearly seven minutes of psychedelic guitar had most of the audience bopping like loons.
It was a fantastic night. Again an epic performance and one that won’t be forgotten for a while.

Photos and Words by Mark Stimpson

Set List
An Illusion
Dead Horse
When the Laughter Stops
We Make Hits
Fizzy Fish
Pour Another
Down by the Stream
Grifter’s Grief
The Trapper’s Pelts
Witness (Can I Get A?)
Dream Job
The Overload
A Vineyard for the North
100% Endurance
The Trench Coat Museum


Philip Goddard

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