Photo by Ryota Mori
Anthemic electro-pop that got the crowd bouncing
Some performers exude charisma, and seem like they were born to be stars. Olly Alexander of England’s Years & Years is one such person, as even his most clumsy and awkward movements on stage during the trio’s Red Marquee set Sunday night felt like calculated moves to get the packed crowd freaking out. Dude came out wearing a pink, rabbit-shaped backpack, its floppy ears flopping around as he skipped around the stage during the synth-bop “Shine.” At the end, laughing and smiling, he said “I’m going to take my bunny off for a second.” Cue, massive cheers. I don’t need to tell you what happened when he said “It’s hot, I need to take this jacket off.”
His budding star power extended to Years & Years anthemic electro-pop. The songs the trio make are declarations of love and lust, soundtracked by hop-scotching keyboards and vaguely tropical percussion, leaving Alexander lots of room to deliver his passion-driven lyrics. Live, he’s a whirling dervish, zooming all over the stage and twisting around, every time he stood still looking like a shoot for a magazine. This energy matched up with the trio’s fluttery sound, and turned every massive hook into a bounce along. It could be misplaced — a mid-set mash-up cover of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling” felt a little to “do it for the Vine” — but for the most part it turned delirious pop numbers such as “Desire” and “King” all the more impassioned. And Alexander’s stage presence took it to another level, and hinted at a very bright future for the group.