Have you ever been to a gig with a 12 year old? Neither had I till a couple of days ago. For my brother on his birthday I decided that it was time that he got into the whole live music scene. Start them early is what I say! So when his little pre-teen face lit up after I announced his birthday present, I knew I had made the right decision.
“We are going to see The Amazons!” is what I told him. And I wasn’t lying; for his birthday I had brought two tickets to see The Amazons at the Pyramids Live centre down Southsea. Last Friday, the day had finally come. The day that my brother hadn’t shut up about for the past 4 months was now here and honestly, I didn’t know how to feel about taking a Year 7 child to a gig.
I guess the main reason for such nervousness was probably the fact that it clearly stated on the website and the tickets that the event was for people over the age of 14. The second reason: well, I had several near death experiences when watching the same band at The Engine Rooms last year. “DEATH BY MOSH PIT” is the last thing my mother wanted to see on her 12 year old sons’ Epitaph.
Luckily, one of my fears were put to bed pretty early on in the night. After stylishly exiting our mums car, our pockets were swiftly checked at the door, our tickets scanned, and that was about it. We entered through a small corridor with kiosks either side. I was unsure of what to expect at this point having never been to this venue. Before buying the tickets, I only knew of the Pyramids as leisure centre with a wave machine in the swimming pool (cool, right?). I was oblivious to the existence of this building that is literally attached to it which hosts live music. But here I was now, for a gig, with the company of only a 12 year old.
Upon coming out of the tail end of the corridor, the room opened up into a surprisingly huge hall, featuring 2 new-looking bars. I was bloody impressed to say at the least. We had about 40 minutes until the first and only warm up YONAKA came on, so like a couple of tourists we took a few photos and stood around looking lost for a few minutes. Both of us completed the essential of updating our Snapchat stories-yes, 12 year olds have Snapchat now- and slowly moved closer to the stage, where the die-hard barrier warriors had already claimed their spaces. Being a responsible brother, I made sure we got as close to the front as we could (without aggravating that infamous species in their natural habitat), but also as far right as we could without it ruining our view. Of course, this was to avoid losing him in a swarm of drunken fiends. Don’t get me wrong, I love a mosh as much as Alex Turner loves to change his hairdo, but with my 5-foot accomplice I couldn’t see it being a good idea.
The 40 minutes passed pretty quickly thanks to the pre-set playlist. That, and the question I kept asking myself: “should I go for a wee before it starts?” A tough one that, no one wants to go for a piss at a gig. So I didn’t, and YONAKA came onto the stage confirming my choice of holding my bladder.
If you’ve seen YONAKA, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. If this was the first band that I had seen live like it was for my brother, I might have fainted. Maybe not quite, but they were sensational. I expected them to be half decent live after enjoying their songs on Spotify for a number of weeks before the gig, but I was simply blown away. That might have been because I was stood directly next to a pretty heft amp, though.
YONAKA opened their set with their song “Ignorance,” and it had an instant impact on everyone in the room. They had the perfect combination: a drummer with only a snare, floor tom, symbols and a large sample pad; a lead guitarist using distortion in a way I have never witnessed; a bass guitarist who was clearly loving every second whilst he bossed every song; all of this topped off with female lead voice, with a range only one could dream of. With each song, you could feel the growing love for them, and it’s easy to see why. YONAKA bring an element of punk into the indie rock scene, and when they played their new unreleased single, it made me realise that they will become big. “YOU’RE F***** WITH THE BOSS NOW!” I definitely didn’t sing along with such explicit language, I’m a responsible brother, remember…?
Flustered by what we had just seen, my brother and I glided through the next 40 minute wait, naturally high on the music and slightly brain dead from the reverberations. I guess that meant we didn’t mind when The Amazons came on stage, in a fashionable, rockstar manner.
Now, being one of my favourite bands, I had been left a tad disappointed when the last time I saw them, they were incredibly hungover and appeared extremely moody. But this time, I was left only being able to smile and do little else with my face. As I sit here and write this blog post, I am physically struggling to find the vocabulary that is powerful enough to describe how The Amazons left me and my brother feeling. Playing through their debut album was one thing, but when they incorporated their rendition of 21st Century Boy (originally by T-Rex) into their song Little Something, my body felt numbed. My skin was overpowered with goose bumps. I had never been so controlled by music. Every instrumental was executed perfectly throughout the whole performance, and when they played a new single of theirs, my satisfaction was well and truly completed. But the set wasn’t. So much more happened. Joe the drummer did a solo whilst the others grabbed a drink (poor guy must’ve been parched), Matt performed “Palace” on his keyboard with Chris gently plucking the guitar, and as if I wasn’t already overwhelmed enough, the YONAKA singer joined them on stage. Together, they performed the most incredible version of “In My Mind.” It was simply incredible.
After closing with “Junk Food Forever,” my brother and I rushed to the T-shirt stall at the back of the room. I don’t think we had said anything to each other before getting to the back, still left speechless from what we had just seen. There, we were lucky enough to meet YONAKA, who were unsurprisingly just as great to speak to. With a T-shirt each- mine a YONAKA one and my brothers a The Amazons one- we stumbled outside trying to find my mums car. I’d say he had a pretty frickin awesome first gig indeed. It was my best yet without a doubt.
Both bands are heading to Victorious festival. If you’re there, don’t be silly. Go and watch them.