Yard Act prove they’re anything but predictable as they kick off their Brudenell Social Club residency in Leeds

This isn’t your usual Bank Holiday Monday. Then again, Yard Act aren’t your usual band.

This isn’t your usual Bank Holiday Monday. Then again, Yard Act aren’t your usual band. That leads one to think that what lies ahead may not be your usual gig, either. As the extended weekend draws to a rainy close, the usual dismal feelings are scarce. Instead, it’s the beginning of an exciting week. Monday marks the first night of Yard Act’s weeklong residency at the Leeds’ beloved Brudenell Social Club. It’s been a slightly crazy last two years for the band, but in a way, it feels like it has all led back to this.

After a particularly special surprise opening set from much-adored stand-up Phill Jupitus, the feverish anticipation becomes stifling. There’s a handful of mannequins adorned in trench coats and silver streamers bedeck the stage. Bunting strung across the ceiling ensures Brude doesn’t look its usual self. It’s fitting for the unusual night about to unfold, which becomes quickly evident when the band take to the stage and promptly announce that they’ve stuck 20 track names into a tombola and will be choosing their setlist in random bouts of threes. Michelle, an audience member who declares her love for a tombola, is absolutely delighted. 

The first trio sees them embark on “crow whipping, a B-side we never bothered recording and some sax requests”. How else would you like a gig to start? The paper mache crows the band have lovingly crafted are destroyed, demands for the Emmerdale theme tune on sax are quickly dismissed and the night is well and truly off to a riotous start. 

From there, the band storm through a setlist that seems both random and just right – tracks from their 2022 debut ‘The Overload’ like ‘Rich’ provide the chance to send the crowd into disarray, while ‘Witness (Can I Get A?)’ similarly seems to have a choir of fans joining in with every word. ‘Land of the Blind’ marks an especially magical moment, it’s crawling bass allowing frontman James Smith to commandeer the masses as effortlessly as ever. 

‘Tall Poppies’, however, shows the extent of how far the band have come. The album track sprawls over six minutes, and Yard Act give it every second of time it deserves. As James delivers some of the track’s final moments from the floor of the stage, the level of performance seems to elevate. He howls his way through, with the band right behind – it’s an arresting, pivotal moment.

In many ways, this too is a pivotal night. “It feels good to be back,” James assures. “We put this place in a fucking song it means that much to us – we’ll always come back, as long as Nathan [The Brudenell’s Director] and you will have us.”

It doesn’t seem like anybody in that room will be turning them away. They return for an encore, tombola somewhat abandoned as they dive into a storming new track, ‘The Trench Coat Museum’. It’s a promising sound of what’s to come, quintessentially Yard Act but more ferocious than ever. ‘Peanuts’ provides a blast from the past that many in attendance absolutely lap up, but the euphoria doesn’t quite end there. Phill Jupitus returns on stage alongside world’s greatest pop star CMAT and fellow comedian Nish Kumar to join James, Ryan, Sam and Jay in launching into a spectacular cover of Chumbawamba’s ‘Tubthumping’, the sheer joy evident on each of their faces. 

“They’ve been very good, haven’t they?” asks Phill Jupitus. We couldn’t put it better ourselves.