Yard Act live at Glastonbury 2022: Groove-driven star power in a parka

A glorious victory lap show plants the Yorkshire indie dons firmly in the Glasto universe

“We’re Yard Act from the other end of the country. Right after this we’re going to watch the Sugababes who have got a song called ‘Overload’ that’s better than ours.”

In the arms of Williams Green, Yard Act frontman James Smith is delivering his usual star-power-in-a-parka self-deprecation, but this packed-out crowd aren’t feeling too humble on his behalf. One fan bellows “Genius!”, while others opt for the more traditional “Yorrrrrkshire” chant – restless in energy before the songs have even begun. “Oh, you wanna have a shit time, do ya?” he smirks.

Smith may possess a litany of droll punchlines —”It’s an honour for us to be here, and to have boutique camping” — but it’s clear that Yard Act have been taking their business seriously. Now on the victory touring lap of their self-titled debut cycle, each of their songs has developed fresh muscle through extensive shows. Even rain-dodging punters are unable to resist the chant of their driving choruses. Debut single ‘Fixer Upper’ in particular has grown into a luxury buy-to-let, a mega-beast that a rich indie landlord-investor would surely love to snap up.


Yard Act play William's Green at Glastonbury 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Yard Act play William’s Green at Glastonbury 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Uniting both discerning ‘real music’ dads and hook-seeking teenagers, Yard Act do feel like something of a quintessential Glastonbury act. A little bit quirky, a little bit wordy but with a strong undertone of sociopolitical awareness, you can easily see the world that is building around them, with both band and fans united in their desire to not take themselves too seriously. ‘Land Of The Blind’ gets it’s usual magic-trick routine with Smith sourcing a fiver to make disappear, while during the frenzied brit-pop chorus of ‘Pour Another’, a large banner unfurls in the crowd, revealing the slogan “Tories Can’t Dance”. If the mosh-pit enthusiasm is anything to go by, this tent isn’t blue.

By the time they reach ‘100% Endurance’ – their very own ‘A Certain Romance’ – there’s people on shoulders, couples having a gooey moment, more “Yorrrkshire!” chants breaking out. Yard Act may be a long way from home, but this is a universe in which they firmly belong.

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