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LIVE REVIEW: YONAKA + Hey Charlie + VALERAS at Sebright Arms

Some might say recently music has changed Hackney forever, others claim that Hackney has changed music forever. Whatever you believe, it’s hard to deny that the once overlooked London borough is now one of the hubs for all things music in London. Sebright Arms is just one of many fine examples of good venues, hosting some the hottest, flourishing bands you’ll hear all year.

VALERAS bring the heat with their melodic pop rock. Heavy in attitude but subtly in your face, VALERAS bring a fresh jangly dynamic to punky upbeat music. Bringing an onslaught of massive tones and great hooks, VALERAS have clearly mastered mixing together all the best elements of grunge and punk with sweeter Americana vibes. The power and grit behind the vocal is monumental, which can’t be understated and is one of the focal points for the band.

The cynically playful Hey Charlie, swagger onto the stage with red lipstick, red skirts – danger is in the air. Garage and grunge collide in a sweaty set, as everyone unashamedly ogles at the trio. Melodically the band use simple, to the point riffs that make hairs stand, the three voices blend together in an oddly satisfying, almost snarling way. Despite all of this, the group come across as curiously innocent, as though they aren’t as innocuous as they seem to let on. Behind their wide-eyed smiles, they look ready to punch someone in the face, and the lyrics kind of sum up that component really well. Moody yet light, abashed yet repentant.

With the basement fully packed with sweaty bodies, YONAKA arrive – bringing darkness and a heavy attitude. It’s not long before the intensity is heightened, bodies are everywhere and the crowd throw each other around like a pack of gorillas fighting for dominance. Bold, heavy riffs plaster the walls in sweat, leaving a sickly but fulfilling feeling in the stomach. As a unit, YONAKA are vigorous and never falter, their showmanship is astounding. The band have this really laid back vibe about them despite the vigour, an almost nonchalant effortlessness comes across in everything they do. They clearly know what they want to achieve and lay it out plainly, bare bones and all, with a like it or lump it attitude. The thing that arouses the senses the most is the tone of the vocal, it’s in your face and has an almost urban element, paired with lyrics of an irate temperament, making for a truly engaging and unusual performance.

Yonaka will be hitting the festival circuit throughout the summer, including stops at Reading and Leeds Festival, Citadel and Standon Calling.

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