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Concert Review: Years & Years Rock The Wiltern in Los Angeles

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

On Thursday night, I played with fire and went to a concert at the Wiltern instead of studying during midterms season. Leaving Westwood and enjoying my home city, Los Angeles, for at least one night was something I hadn’t done in a long time.

Years & Years is a British synth-pop band, which started in London. The band consists of three members: Olly Alexander, the main vocalist, Mike Goldsworthy, on the keyboard and bass, and Emre Türkmen, on sequence and multiple other instruments. They are currently on their second tour for their second album, Palo Santo. Opening for the band last night was solo artist Jess Kent and special guest, CYN.

Although the show started half an hour late, it only caused the audience’s anticipation to rise. Australian pop singer, Jess Kent, opened up the show with her talented guitar skills and melodious voice. The female artist required no help from anyone—she managed her own computer and played her own guitar while performing. When referencing her music, Kent shared, “I let go and started writing music I actually gave a f**ck about.” She consistently engaged with the audience throughout her entire performance and even had them ~getting down~ to her song “Get Down.” Kent stated she is currently working on her first album, but if you would like to listen to her music, check out her Spotify here.Following Kent was female solo pop artist CYN with a powerful voice. As soon as CYN set foot on stage, she caught the audience’s attention with her bright stage lights and intense music. Despite her sharp singing voice, when she spoke to the audience, she had a very mellow vibe. Her fiercely red, latex jacket and pants were very appropriate to her name. To both Kent and Cyn, the audience kept yelling that they loved the artists to which both artists replied, “I love you too.” If you want to listen to her music as well, check out her Spotify here.

After CYN’s amazing, yet brief, performance, intermission for Years & Years to prepare began. To the audience’s surprise, Katy Perry, along with boyfriend Orlando Bloom were in the balcony (two rows to the right from me!). All the attendees at the concert sang Perry Happy Birthday, which Perry responded to by standing up and thanking the audience.

Once Years & Years finally came on stage, the audience was more excited than ever. The band theatrically opened with “Sanctify,” which is the first song from their Palo Santo album. Accompanying them, was backup vocal singers, Joel Fender and Phebe Edwards, in vibrant red outfits to match with the Palo Santo theme colors and drummer Paris Jeffree. The band performed several songs from their first album, Communion, including “Shelter,” “Shine,” “Eyes Shut,” “Ties,” “Desire,” “Worship” and “Gold.” Before singing the band’s third song, “Eyes Shut,” Olly told the audience, “I want to get close to you guys, so I can see everyone’s eyes.” Olly then proceeded to sit down to play the slow love song on the keyboard for the audience, creating a more intimate ambiance.

Once the band began to perform more of their new songs from Palo Santo, including: “Karma,” “Palo Santo,” “Rendezvous” and more, the audience went wild. With their new music, the band turned the venue into a dance club. Guest artist MNEK was also brought out during a special song performance. Everyone in the audience was up and dancing to every single song. Throughout the entire concert, Olly entertained the audience with his avant-garde dance moves, and at one point during the performance, Olly voiced his opinion on transgender rights in today’s political spectrum. He made it clear to the audience that they wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for their fans, which includes transgender people. He continued on, asking everyone to fight for their “brothers and sisters, especially privileged white gay guys like me—we’ve got to do better.” After his brief speech, the audience cheered and danced for him and what he said.

All in all, it was an amazing night. Years & Years delivered an iconic show that left me speechless. It was filled with surprises and a ton of fun. At the end, the band performed their most popular song (also my favorite) “King,” which caused the audience to burst into even more jumping and belt the song at the top of their lungs. It was definitely worth missing a little bit of studying.

Allison is a feature writer at UCLA who loves hanging out at the beach and eating any kind of dessert.
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