Still fresh off the release of their third studio album, Cocoa Sugar, Edinburgh heroes Young Fathers took to the stage for their last show of the year and tour finale at the imposing O2 Academy Brixton venue, where they commanded a sold-out show in tremendous style. Supported by Petite Noir, the band drummed the crowd up into a stifling frenzy, oozing power before they had even taken the stage. Right as the crowd began to get restless, gazing up at the intimidating equipment on stage, the band dashed onto the stage, immediately throwing themselves into a passionate display.
Living up to their self-proclaimed “boyband” status, each performer completely controlled their individual energy, whipping the audience into fine formation. With little care for live-show etiquette, the band ground out album anthem “Toy” early in the set, utterly assured that every song they played would impose its will on the audience no matter where in the set it came from. Throngs of middle-aged rockers and wild students alike lapped up every second. No song failed to deliver. The vocals cut through the heavy, surging wall of sound, crisp and clear, and the drums orchestrated the mantric ritual that played before the throng of thousands.
The eager Kayus imbued the crowd with an unparalleled force of ecstasy and pain alike, almost bursting out of his veins. Graham (“G”) teased the crowd with snippets of interaction, channeling the charisma of a punk legend, even dedicating their sophomore album hit, “Shame,” to Theresa May and the Brexit brigade. Alloysious moved and sang with a sleekness and soul that silhouetted cleanly against the contrast barrage of sound and the slowly encompassing fogs of melody.
Impossible to stand unshaken or undettered, members of the audience erupted into dances of euphoria, limbs flayed, award mosh pits assembled and dissipated. Barely anyone knew how to react to a sound so modern, so unrelenting, and a performance whose sky-rocket confidence belies the youth of the band. From start to finish, the show propelled itself autonomously and without any shroud of doubt. Ballads struck just as powerfully as their irresistibly dancey tunes. The band refused to shy away from any of the genres that influenced their music, pop included. Their own unique genre expressed itself without restriction, without any desire to conform, and with a restless carefree. By the time the last song faded and their drums were literally bashed into the floor, it felt too sad to be true. The perfectly synched lights surged out the final stanzas of sound and bass and energy, punctuating the indescribable furore that had just occurred and the band scattered, with no hope of returning. All that could be done was to stand there transfixed and in awe.
A band with incredible production and an even more incredible live performance style, Young Fathers seem to be only getting better with age. Judging by their performance, one would think that they had toured together for decades, but it is satisfying to think that they are still just getting started, and perhaps the best is yet to come. The sure destination: world domination.
Words by Samm Anga