22nd October | Thekla
Connoisseur of majestically curious hair, Yellow Days proves you don’t have to be a luscious mop-headed Rapunzel to make it big in the music industry. And the indie kid from leafy Surrey is certainly well on his way up. Receiving national and international attention from the likes of The Guardian, NME and Billboard as well as Donald bloody Glover, Yellow Days – the one-man solo project from George Van Den Broek – is not shy of Bristolian attention, either.
He sold out Thekla, a venue that has somewhat of a reputation of housing talents right before they hit the big time, on a stage that Yellow Days revealed he played once, many moons ago, at the multi-venue Dot to Dot Festival. Packed to the brim with lovelorn young hipsters and edgy whippersnappers, the show was ideal for those who wanted to sway along to the sunny synths or indulge in the passionate wails of the balladry.
The set was incredibly soulful – thanks primarily to the husky, whiskey-tinged drawl of Van Den Broek – and had fans gazing adoringly up at the singer-slash-guitarist, holding their hands close to their chest. A set highlight was his intoxicating ‘Gap In The Clouds’, a track which perfectly captures the fever and sense of reigned-in chaos that eclipses his music. Inebriated fans threw themselves from side-to-side as they screamed the lyrics back and, as if players in the romantic climax of a movie, couples shared sweet kisses and threw their hands around each other’s necks.
When Yellow Days does speak to the crowd, he has a whiskey-tinged voice with a smooth operator status like he’s presenting a late-night jazz radio show. Admittedly, it does sound a bit put-on (as, by the sound of this voice, he should be at least 50 years old, be sporting a bushy moustache and have lived all his life in some nondescript town in Midwestern America), but it kind of adds to the allure.
Yellow Days is straight-talking about mental health. He lets the audience in close. His carefully-crafted performances are so compelling because of the painful and empathetic honesty that leaves him so bare out at the front. Particularly, his endearing cover of Etta James’ iconic ballad, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ wouldn’t have been so convincing if he didn’t throw his mangled heart on the floor mid-performance (figuratively, of course) and make his own heartstruck aching utterly believable. It makes you forgive him for those poorly-scissored locks.