25th November 2019

YONAKA @ Manchester Academy | Gig Review

Manchester Academy 2 welcomed YONAKA to the stage on Thursday night to entertain the crowd of 400. The night consisted of the group encouraging togetherness, seeking help when needed, and of course – providing a top-quality musical performance that had everyone in the room moving.

After a great pre-ample performance from both Rusalka and Zuzu, there was a clear buzz throughout the room – They were ready for the headline act, YONAKA. The band ran on stage as the atmosphere amplified. Theresa Jarvis, the frontwoman of the band, lagged behind for added effect. YONAKA opened the gig with the song ‘Punch Bag’ from their new album ‘Don’t Wait ‘til Tomorrow’, an explosive start to the night as the fast paced first three minutes sets a impressive precedent for the next hour. Jarvis ended the opening by adding “Forget anything else in your life. I want you to be here and have a good time!”

The energy of the band was electric, and it is clear that Jarvis is a natural born frontwoman. Dressed in black boxing shorts decorated with the YONAKA ‘Y’, harlequin-esque eye-makeup and blue hair, the lead-singer commanded the room with her vocals. Her voice impressed throughout the night, with a particular highlight being when the band quietened down towards the end of ‘Lose Our Heads’, and Jarvis gave the crowd the chance to sing the words back to her. Later in the night Jarvis would command the whole crowd to get down on the floor and jump up on her queue – needless to say nobody disobeyed.

YONAKA publicly speak out about mental health often, and Thursday night proved no different. Having already told LGSM about the importance of seeking help and telling people your problems, Jarvis again highlighted the importance of this before the group played ‘Don’t Wait ‘til Tomorrow’, the title track from the album. “This song is dedicated to anyone who’s going through a low time at the moment or has ever been,” Jarvis announced to the crowd. “You are not on your own. You are stronger than you think you are, and you will get through it.” The extremely positive message, was met by huge applause. YONAKA could not have chosen a more appropriate song, as its littered with lyrics such as “I’m gonna help you climb that mountain” and, “Just know I’ll be there, remember that I care.”

The unrelenting YONAKA gave the crowd a breather as they swapped electric for acoustic, with Jarvis and guitarist George Edwards giving a stunning stripped back rendition of ‘Guilty (for your love)’. The crowd fell silent to intently listen as Jarvis filled the room with her voice. A personal highlight of mine from the show as it felt much more intimate, showing YONAKA’s love and passion for both their music and showmanship.

The night was closing in and ended how it began – fast paced and lively. Playing an older fan favourite ‘FWTB’, YONAKA closed their set on Thursday singing in unison with the crowd after a tight packed and technically sound gig. It was hard to ask for more, but fans certainly wanted an encore. YONAKA had ended the night on a high though. Playing a large selection from their newest album, as well as several older fan-favourites, it was an action-packed bill that left fans extremely satisfied. Inclusive, energetic, and positive – YONAKA’s ability to put on a show will never be in doubt.

You can catch YONAKA’s last 4 shows of the tour at