Live review: Young Fathers, Leith Theatre, Sat 2 Jun
- Henry Northmore
- 4 June 2018
Raw, intoxicating home town show as the Edinburgh trio play Hidden Door
There's already a sense of anticipation rippling through the crowd. This is Young Fathers biggest home town show to date and inevitably it sold out ages ago. And based on the strength of recent album Cocoa Sugar expectations are high.
As the lights cut, strobes light up the darkness and 'What a Time to Be Alive' crackles into life. An ominous start constructed around a propulsive techno beat. Their stage show is stripped back to just the three vocalists, Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham 'G' Hasting, and a drummer. A stark raw explosion of sound.
It's hard to truly categorise, built around alternative hip hop while veering off into krautrock, avant-jazz and doomy electro. Their voices perfectly complement each other, each member bringing their own strengths. Bankole stripped to the waist is a powerful and intoxicating focal point, every line is delivered with passion and soul; Hasting adds grit and weight, often augmenting the tracks on sequencers, synths and drum machines; while Massaquoi's resonating voice fills every corner of the gloriously dilapidated Leith Theatre. The venue's faded glamour perfectly fitting the vibe of Young Fathers.
It's a hot, sweltering night, on and off stage, sweat literally running down the walls. The crowd bouncing as one singing back the lyrics to 'Toy' or 'In My View', throbbing with the heavy sub bass rhythms of 'Get Up'. This is music that isn't afraid to confront the listener with ideas, both sonic and ideological. Music with soul in every sense of the word. Shout outs to Leith and various family members in the audience make it feel even more intimate and special.
Heavier, harder and harsher than on record. They leave the stage with a squealing acid line running from the banks of electronic equipment at the back of the stage. No one is making music quite like Young Fathers at the moment. At times bleak, modernist and austere at others achingly beautiful and profoundly human. A triumph of a performance.
'What a Time to Be Alive'
'Queen is Dead'
'Rain or Shine'
'In My View'
'Only God Knows'