Yard Act review: Engaging story telling and pinpoint riffs

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Arriving at Norwich Arts Centre on their first visit to the Fine City on Friday night, Yard Act proved themselves as one of the country's most exciting new bands.

Strolling on stage, the band enter more like a group of mates on a trip to the pub rather than rockstars, but it's a style that compliments their music perfectly.

Opening with 'Rich' from their debut album The Overload, the band start slow with singer James Smith telling the audience "almost by accident, I have become rich".

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The band slowly builds before Smith throws himself to the floor during the song's crescendo yelling with anxiety "it appears I have become rich", as if it were a deadly condition.

They then fire into a raucous rendition of early fan favourite 'Dark Days' which gets the crowd bouncing and singing along.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

It's the first of many times during the evening that guitarist, Sam Shjipstone, takes centre stage, with his aggressive, squealing riffs ricocheting around the arts centre as Smith wails "I had the blues and I can't shake them loose".

Both 'Peanuts' from the band's first EP and 'Tall Poppies' form the evening's centrepiece.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

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On 'Peanuts' the group stops half way through with Smith having a good natter with the crowd after being interrupted while attempting the spoken word part of the song, before eventually getting the audience to join him for finale of "it takes real guts to fake being nuts".

An extended version of 'Tall Poppies', which tells the story of the most popular and talented boy in his class who refuses to leave his home town as he grows up, explains the story much better than the LP version prompting the audience to listen along in detail.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Both tracks show the band at their most creative, with their Pulp-esque stories providing both humour and tragedy in equal measure, showing there is more to the group than just catchy post-punk blasts.

And new song 'Human Sacrifice' shows the band still have plenty left in the tank, with its driving riff reminiscent of The Stooges' 'Down On The Street'.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Before closing with their most well-known song 'The Overload', Smith pays tribute to a fantastic Norwich crowd saying: "There's a good vibe about Norwich and I mean it, I don't just say it everywhere we go, I certainly didn't say it in LA.

"It just seems like there's actually something good going on far away from the rest of the country.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

"It seems like everyone here gets what this band is about."

The evening was the perfect combination of a band on red hot form, still buzzing from the euphoria of having just released their first album, coupled with an audience hungry to lap up every note.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre.

Yard Act play Norwich Arts Centre. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

And the group have clearly saved the best till last, first ripping through fan favourite 'Fixer Upper', a tale about a Rover-driving Brexiteer type called Graham, which perfectly blends their engaging story telling with pinpoint riffing.

To finish the band bring out impressive support act Nuha Ruby Ra for a cover of Modern Lovers' classic 'Roadrunner', which has the band and crowd singing along in unison ending the night with a joyous communal experience.