Years & Years @ Mandela Hall, Belfast


Having released their debut record, Communion, at the end of June this year, it was only a matter of time before Years & Years graced our shores for a headline show. With tickets flying out upon release, the band added a second show at Dublin’s Academy due to demand. The popularity of the electronic pop trio has soared throughout the year, having won BBC’s Sound of 2015 award, alongside frequent radio airtime with singles ‘King’ and ‘Shine’.

The sold-out show has been highly anticipated by the Irish fans, many determined to see their first Irish show since Longitude Festival, that the search for someone selling a ticket online was at times chaotic. By the time doors had opened for the show, the main room in Mandela Hall was over half full, with more flooding in before there was even a sign of support acts.

London based electronic group Nimmo was the show’s sole support act, and by the time they took to the stage, they had a difficult task of entertaining and warming up the near full room in front of them. Kicking into their opening song, the group did their best to get the crowd moving, which is all too often easier said than done. The five-piece flow from track to track almost seamlessly and even at times it seems that the band are the only ones in the room really getting into it, the crowd slowly warm up and as the more melodic and high tempo-tracks come in the middle of the set, scattered groups of people throughout the room can be seen dancing along, even right at the back.

By the time Nimmo leave the stage just after half 8, the room is all but filled, with very little space left for latecomers. Years & Years arrive out shortly after 9, one by one to ‘Foundation’ before frontman Olly appears to an overwhelming wall of screaming fans. Jumping straight into personal favourite ‘Take Shelter’, with magnificent blue lighting filling the entirety of the room, the energy both on stage and in the crowd is at a high for the night. If you were impressed by the dancing from Nimmo, Olly takes this to a new level with some heavily-inspired Drake moves across new single ‘Desire’.

Flowing into slower songs in the set such as ‘Memo’ and ‘Eyes Shut’, the fans are captivated and many of the younger fans capturing the footage on their phones. The vocal delivery from Olly is impressively precise across the songs and most noticeably in hit single ‘Shine’ and the more mellow cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’. The stellar crowd were loud, sometimes loud enough to drown the lead and backup vocals on stage, and energetic enough right up until the final song.

Finishing on ‘King’, Years & Years leave the packed room after their first show in Northern Ireland, knowing their worth in the country. Selling out Mandela Hall on their first attempt is a feat that many acts can’t brag about, and their rise has only just started. It’s going to get much bigger here on out. Niall Cregan

Photos by Alan Maguire.


is the co-editor / photo editor. She also contributes photos and illustrations to The Thin Air print magazine.