By TRACIE LIU
For The News-Letter
British synthpop group Years and Years drew a packed audience to a late-night Sept. 19 show at Washington, D.C.’s intimate 9:30 Club.
The crowd cheered wildly as the band members arrived — Olly Alexander as the lead, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen on guitar, bass and synths and Dylan Bell on the drums.
They opened with “Foundation” and “Take Shelter.” The audience sang and danced along with them on both tracks. Before continuing with another catchy indie pop tune “Desire,” Olly thanked the audience for coming.
“So we played in D.C. earlier this year,” Alexander said before breaking off to laugh as the audience interrupted him with excited cheering. “Thank you so much for letting us come back.”
He took a step closer to the audience and singled out a girl in the front row.
“This lady has a sign that says ‘tonight we dance and cry together.’ Can everyone see that?” He took the sign from her to lean it against his keyboard and read aloud the other side of the sign which read: “Thank you for reminding us all that we’re kings and queens.”
Olly came down from the stage and toward the front row smiling and reached out to hold hands with a few of the audience members before turning back on stage and dancing.
They slowed down the set with “Eyes Shut” and “Without,” before Olly announced that their next song would be a cover. They began performing Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul’s “Breathe,” and were joined on stage halfway through the song by Tei Shi for a duet.
They finished off the night with their own songs “Border” and “Real,” and waved as they dipped back behind stage.
Nearly 10 minutes passed before the band ran back out onto the stage for the encore, waving to the audience’s cheers. They finally performed the song the audience had been waiting for the entire night, ”King.” The audience continued to cheer, dance and applaud for them long after they disappeared behind the curtains.
Tei Shi opened the show. Born in Argentina and based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tei Shi labels her style as “mermaid music” — and audiences quickly discover why. Her first track “Can’t Be Sure” includes many vocal tracks layered one over another in a deep echo that sounds ephemeral, as if you are listening to it from the bottom of the ocean. “I’m so stoked to be here,” she said. “We’re having so much fun on this tour with Years and Years. We’re so thankful that they had us along for the ride.”
Tei Shi continued to sway around the stage as she began a cover of Beyoncé’s “No Angel.” She followed that with “Get It,” “Show Me,” “Go Slow” and “Nature vs Nurture,” all of which are smoother R&B inspired tracks that had the audience bouncing with her. She finished with “Bassically,” a song from her newest album Verde, which included notes so high and impressive that they left the audience stunned.
After Tei Shi left the stage, around 20 minutes passed before the stage lights were dimmed once more and a banner that read “Years and Years” was lowered down behind the stage. While their popularity has yet to reach the United States, Years and Years already boasts an award from BBC for the BBC Sound of 2015 and is nominated for MTV’s MTV Brand New For 2015.