Live Review: Yossarian // The Sebright Arms, London – 19.03.16

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The Sebright Arms in Hackney represents a stark contrast to the sounds of Yossarian. The modest basement venue sports a bar towards the back, and not much else in the way of decoration or ambiance, save for the lighting rig low enough to be within touching distance courtesy of a ceiling which is only just above head height.  And yet the calibre of artist to whom the small venue has played host is impressive. With sounds varying from the likes of Charlie XCX to the currently meteoric risers that are Catfish and the Bottlemen, the plethora of artists that have graced the small stage almost makes its sparse nature seem like a purposeful contradiction to the big names that would become of its guests.

Yossarian are in the category of artists whose sound does not belong on such a small stage. With the imminent release of their second crowd-funded album Light Up My Head, which follows up on The Little We Know – the debut that earned them the label of the ‘lovechild of Elbow and The National’, and having just arrived home from a tour of Australia, it’s quite astounding that front-man Ash and the rest of the band are able to perform with such captivating vigour.

The set spans both their albums, and it’s easy to see why such comparisons are made. Ash’s voice permeates the small room, evoking comparisons to Matt Berninger’s Cincinnati drawl, and his twitching, restless movements denote an electricity and a sensitivity to the material that’s rarely seen outside the line-ups of stadium-filling bands. The material itself is affecting, profound, and often dark, and the band carry the whole set off in supremely assured and sensitive fashion., each member fulfilling their roles with consummate professionalism. Starting and ending with tracks from their upcoming album Light Up My Head in the form of Talking Too Loud and Cloud Watching, as well as dispersing marquee tracks Arrow Part 1 and God Gamble during the middle of the performance, the whole set takes the audience from mellow, serene-sounding melodies to sky-scraping, gut punching choruses, all in the under 2 hours.

As the night comes to  a close, and the final notes of Cloud Watching ring through the room, it’s difficult to imagine that the future holds anything other than big things for this London based collective.

See our pictures of Yossarian’s London show here.

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