Celebrating their now 2 week-old 2nd album “Where’s My Utopia?”, the hardest working post-punk act around Yard Act returned to Glasgow for the 3rd time in 3 years to play the 02 Academy.

Support tonight is New York’s Art Punk outfit, Gustaf. The opening song 2 part song “Here Hair / Hard Hair” almost feels like a joke on the audience, the slow and lingering buildup may have got some of the unsuspecting audience worried this was going to be more art than punk but a few minutes later and just as the audience start clapping the end of the song it explodes into a riot of noise. Lead singer Lydia has an unmistakable raspy New York voice and a cheeky stage presence. There are various shout-outs to Thomas but we are left wondering what he has done to deserve them. During their 45-minute set, the band managed to cover an impressive amount of percussion instruments, and while the flute was a risky one to be bringing to Glasgow the crowd lapped it up along with the rest of the set and by the reaction, it sounds like Gustaf left with quite a few more fans tonight.

Next up is Yard Act, having played Mono in 2022, growing to the Barrowlands in 2023, and now packing out the 02 Academy in 2024 it marks an impressively fast growth for the Leeds band. Their debut album “The Overload” was Mercury nominated and laid out a winning formula that could have easily been replicated, however with “Where’s My Utopia?” they have branched out from their post-punk origins, the first sign of that tonight is the backing singers that lead the band out and will feature heavily throughout the night. Kicking off with “An Illusion” there is an instant sense of confidence and cheer coming from the band that isn’t immediately obvious from their recorded releases, loungey melodies turn into commanding rock songs, and singer James whose recorded persona is usually dripping in irony and sarcasm is earnest and joyful without shoutouts to him mum and neighbours in the audience adding to the friendly atmosphere.

The early songs come mostly from the new album, the band sounds tight and there is a level of theatrics to the show. Halfway through a game of Spin the Wheel comes out and Josh is plucked from the audience to select a song from the first EP “Dark Days“, Josh is hoping for “Fixer Upper” but nobody is complaining when “The Trapper’s Pelts” is ultimately landed on. In what feels like too short a time “Vineyard for the North” is playing and James says goodbye in what is the least convincing encore exit to exist. Returning to play “!00% Endurance“, for not the first time in the evening James mentions how they “sincerely sincerely love Glasgow” and tries to match the tempo of the crowd chanting “here we fucking go” to an extended house version of “The Trench Coat Museum

Yard Act has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last few years and their live shows make it clear why, aside from a couple more trenchcoats than usual on show it is hard to pick out any specific genre or age amongst the fans. There is a refreshing lack of machismo or judgment exuding from the band or their fans, it’s a genuine show full of joy. “Where’s My Utopia?” is spreading that appeal even wider. Hopefully, they slow down soon though or they are going to run out of venues in Glasgow big enough to play.

Words and pictures: Dale Harvey @daleharvey