Links to videos and interview in blue
All good things come to an end. Last night saw Yak play their last ever gig, putting in an electric performance that had the place absolutely rocking. Seeing a band this good calling it a day is sad, but on the other hand it’s surely better to burn out than fade away, and they certainly went out with a bang.
There appeared to be signs of disquiet in the Yak camp in August when the band tweeted ‘dirty laundry is aired…wheels firmly buckled…enthusiasm dwindling…the occupants self-evicting’. An interview with Soho Radio the following month seemed telling also, with Oli Burslem sheepishly saying ‘dunno’ when asked what was next for the band. A few more cryptic social media posts and an equally non-committal interview with imnotfromlondon.com seemed to confirm that the band were coming to an end.
Coming on as ever to Terry Riley’s ‘A Rainbow in the Curved Air’ Yak took to the stage with Heavens Above and then proceeded to play their way through the highlights of their excellent two albums ‘Alas Salvation’ and ‘The Pursuit of Momentary Happiness’. This really was a blinding set from start to finish, with the older songs like Use Somebody and Harbour the Feeling sounding as fresh as ever alongside newer tracks like Bellyache and Fried. We even got a version of Smile seamlessly blended into Alas Salvation and Hungry Heart, accompanied by a full-on stage invasion.
Naturally a Yak gig wouldn’t be the same without Oli laying on the outstretched arms of the audience playing his guitar at some point, and he of course duly obliged, showman to the last. The band signed off with ‘This House Has No Living Room’ with Oli’s battered guitar tossed into the air as a valedictory gesture.
This really was an amazing show. Perhaps it was the knowledge that this was the last time that this great band were going to play that heightened the atmosphere in the venue: the audience seemed to be so at one with the energy of the performance in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, it was quite incredible.
In many ways this was the sort of night that will go down in rock and roll history as one that will be talked about for years to come, and I felt honoured to have been there.
Yak were the inspiration behind this blog and I am eternally grateful to Messrs Burslem, Davies and Rawson for the life changing gift of music that they have given me. They have truly made a difference. If ever I meet one of them there will be a pint ready with their name on it.
Farewell Yak, and thanks for the memories. You came, you conquered, and you absolutely rocked.