British electro-pop trio Years & Years and pop singer songwriter CYN kicked off the week with a sold out show at Lakeview’s The Vic Theatre.
Following a quick opening set from Australian singer-songwriter Jess Kent, CYN took the stage to shake things up and get everyone in the packed theatre ready for Years & Years’ long-awaited return to Chicago. In a way, CYN’s show on Monday evening acted as a homecoming; after growing up in the neighboring state of Michigan, CYN had attended and graduated from DePaul University. CYN’s short but sweet set began with a bang as she burst onto the stage with a rush of energy to perform her single “Believer,” a dance tune that features a bass line groovy enough to get everyone’s hips shaking. While playing some familiar singles which have racked up millions of plays on Spotify, CYN also introduced the crowd to some brand new, unreleased material, like “Bubble Bath,” which teased what her upcoming debut EP might sound like. About half way through CYN’s set, the energy slowed a bit for the performance of her newest single “I’ll Still Have Me” which juxtaposes the usual funky tones to CYN’s songs with its gentle, lulling guitar melodies and CYN’s hypnotizing vocals. CYN dedicated the song to one of her best friend’s moms before starting it, mentioning that so many of her best friends were in the audience that night. While speaking about Chicago, CYN took a moment to tell the crowd how much this show was a full-circle moment to her because just a few years ago, she had seen some of her favorite artists (Sam Smith and Kiesza) perform on the very same stage. CYN closed out her set with a few higher energy songs, closing with what she mentioned will be her new single; “Holy Roller.”
Next, after a 30 minute changeover, it was finally time for Years & Years to perform in Chicago for the first time in years (and years). The eager audience full of dedicated fans of Olly Alexander and his bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen last had the chance to see the band perform in town at 2016’s Lollapalooza. Before that, Years & Years had performed another sold out headline show in 2015 at Park West, which highlighted songs from the group’s debut album. Now, the trio was back and bigger than ever to celebrate their sophomore album Palo Santo, which was released July 6th this year. For the Palo Santo Tour, Alexander, Goldsworthy, and Türkmen set themselves up for the best possible live show, bringing a backdrop that featured theatrical lights, steps and a platform for Alexander to dance along to their music. They also brought along a drummer to help recreate their production-heavy songs in an authentic, live setting and two backing vocalists to add a richness and depth to Alexander’s silky smooth vocals. The full band helped bring newer songs like “Sanctify” and “Karma” to life, but they also put a fresh spin on the older songs that had led many fans to first discover Years & Years, like “Shine” and “Desire.” With the fullness that the band provided to the live show and Alexander’s flawless vocal performance that never faltered, even through energetic dance moves, the momentum of the night never hit a lull. Even during the band’s one slower song, “Eyes Shut,” which featured Alexander stationed at a keyboard in the center of the stage, the energy remained high as the crowd loudly sang the all the words back. When it came time for the band to exit the stage at the end of the night, the crowd demanded an encore with an overwhelming thunder of applause and cheers for Years & Years’ comeback show. The night wrapped up with an encore of “All for You” and “King;” and the latter had everyone in the room on their feet, dancing it out one last time.
If you missed out on the dance party, check out photos of CYN and Years & Years below!