Review: YONAKA- 17/11/19 – Riverside, Newcastle


The night started off slow and dreamy with the first support act Rusalka. With just a keyboard accompanying her, Rusalka makes music you can easily lose yourself in. Her sweet yet haunting vocals whisk you away into a dreamy haze.

Following Rusalka’s soothing sounds was Liverpool’s queen of indie, Zuzu. With a voice like a hurricane and a badass attitude, the singer is finishing the year as one of the hottest newcomers of 2019. Apart from her undeniably catchy songs, what sets Zuzu apart from her competition is that when she sings, she means every single word. Her gestures and facial expressions are priceless. She clearly enjoys her time on stage and watching her, it’s hard not to have a good time. 

Zuzu makes music for strong independent women, she takes no BS from anyone and that shines through in songs like ‘Money Back’ and ‘Beauty Queen’. By the time she casually whips out an incredible cover of Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’, you could feel the entire female audience mentally waving her flag. We’re rooting for you, girl. After these two amazing women, it was finally time for Yonaka to take the stage, which they did to the thunderous cheers of a packed out Riverside. 

From the first song, ‘Punchbag’ to the last second of ‘F.W.T.B’ Yonaka were on it. They didn’t miss a beat or an opportunity to encourage the audience to follow their dreams. I have never felt more empowered, more inspired than when Theresa told me to not let anyone tell me I can’t. 

Each song was greeted by an ecstatic audience ready to lose their heads. The room was buzzing with energy and excitement. In 600 faces you could read the sheer adoration each and every member of the audience has for the band. YONAKA, trying to get as close to the crowd as possible by climbing on barriers and the balcony, very clearly felt the same. 


It’s difficult to describe their performance in only one word. They are dark, edgy, hypnotising, intoxicating. Nothing short of captivating. Frontwoman Theresa most definitely knows how to draw in the crowd. These four are well and truly rockstars, but rockstars you can touch. They care, a fact that became apparent every time Theresa addressed the audience. “The world is hard but it doesn’t last forever”, “Dreaming keeps us alive” and “If there’s something you’re passionate about, do it” are only a few of the lessons she sent us on our way with. 

At the end of a spectacular night, there is only one thing left to say: Thank you, Yonaka

WORDS: Laura Freyaldenhoven


If you want to see more of the electrifying photos taken head over to our Gig Gallery sooner rather than later!


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