Considering the lush utopian electronics of Shangri-La, Yacht’s second album as a duo, it should really come as no surprise that Hoxton Bar & Kitchen is so packed. But my god, is it packed. It’s groping room only in the tiny, sweaty cube and as the toilet and the bar seems so far away, this show better be worth the time spent static. When Jona Bechtolt, singer Claire L Evans and their touring band enter into the clinging humidity, it suddenly becomes less important that State’s hand is somewhere inappropriate.
With a set mostly splattered with tracks from the new album, Yacht bounce through the evening, interspersing songs with excited, open chatter. From ‘Paradise Engineering’ to the dysfunctional synth of ‘Dystopia’, from the Rapture-esque ‘I Walked Alone’ to the clubby, tropical pop of ‘Utopia’, the journey through the Shangri-La concept is alternatively dark and exceptionally bright disco-punk. And the band themselves are highly endearing: Evans takes a break from melodic paradise harmonies to introduce her companions, rambling sweetly about nicknames and spiritual homes. Eventually, the crush becomes too much and in order not to melt into a puddle on the floor, the end of the show is listened to from outside the door. And all credit to Yacht, the dream-poppy ‘The Afterlife’ sounds no less enchanting from there.
Photo: Sarah Dorman