Young Fathers - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Fri 02 Dec 2011 (4 stars)

Young Fathers, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Fri 02 Dec

Thought-out moves allowing for improvisation and spontaneity

It was a night full of surprises. First off, early-comers were treated to a plate of chicken and rice, home made by Young Father’s member Alloysious Massaquoi. As Jamaican street-party videos projected onto the screen and deep dancehall pumped through the speakers, the Young Fathers mingled with the crowd. ‘We want there to be a house party feel, hence the food,’ said band member Graham Hastings. Massaquoi explained further, 'We want to break the barrier between us and the audience and bring an intimate feel to the night.’

Starting the party was warm-up act Patricia Panther (which is her real name - check her driving licence), who delivered her big voice, fierce lyrics and grimy beats to the Sneaky Pete’s crowd before Young Fathers took to the stage and began what was to be a passionate, high-energy performance from the Edinburgh trio.

They started the show with ‘Sister’ from their recently-released mixtape Tape One and took equal turns to sing, rap and loop their vocals over the bassy beat, leaving the audience wondering who would do what next.

There was a mystical and tribal feel to the night, if not from third-member Kayus Bankole’s foxtail, then definitely from the alternate drum-beating and lyric-chanting in songs such as ‘Rrramada‘. In their tenth year of performing together, their closeness is evident. Although their moves are thought-out, they are not over-choreographed and allow room for improvisation and spontaneity. This is apparent when Massaquoi asks ‘Who is unlucky in love?’, before the threesome come down into the audience with a ghetto-blaster and attempt to serenade one lucky lady. Unfortunately, the stereo’s battery is flat, so the sweet gesture does not materialize any further. Unhampered by this tiny glitch, they return to the stage and perform the reggae-inspired ‘Romance‘, with Massaquoi’s beautiful voice captivating the arm-waving crowd. The trio then perform their new single ‘Nothing Left‘, which blends an electro beat and straight-talking raps with a 90s-boy-band-sounding chorus, leaving the venue bouncing before they finish their set.

Young Fathers' debut album The Guide is out on 29 January.

Young Fathers - Rumbling (Tape One)

Mixtape – Tape One. Stream/download it for free here.

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