Live at The Wardrobe on Wednesday, 5th May 2010
I enter the wardrobe to be greeted by candlelit tables creating a dimmed, warm atmosphere in the room. It is evident that the night 'Big Jukebox', has been designed to highlight this effect, as combined with an eager listening audience the night is sure to promise a smooth, steady outcome. For the listeners, the wardrobe provides a couple of drinks after work along with a place to relax and enjoy the live music.
Young Ideas, a five piece boys pop band cooly take the stage, casually dressed and blending into the subtle glow of the stage lighting. The band consists of frontman, singer and acoustic guitarist Daniel McDougal, electric guitarist Bruno Major, bassist Danny Cope, keys player James Thompson and drummer Chris Burgess.
Burgess opens the set gently with a 'pitter patter' effect, achieved by using brushes all over the kit. Most of the songs start softly and reach a dynamic build in the middle and Burgess' tight drumming helps them progress towards these sections. His skill reveals his enthusiasm and obvious passion for the band however between songs Burgess appears quiet and nervous.
Unfortunately for Thompson, his role as the keys player is only heard during the quieter sections of the songs. Seated at the side of the stage, he was obscured from view for some members of the audience. When he can be heard, his NORD piano provides a flavourful, chordal accompaniment in songs like 'The Room,' one of the more soulful numbers.
LCM lecturer Danny Cope doesn't disappoint on his principal instrument. His powerful open strings let rung underneath McDougal's chords are a key factor in bringing the acoustic elements of the songs to a full band status. However in 'Grow Old With Me' he also shows a very delicate touch playing higher up the fingerboard.
Bruno brings the entertaining side to the five piece in-between songs. His jokes about Wimbledon and solving the credit crunch with crumpets brings out a few cheers in contrast to the rest of the band who have a more professional mannerism whilst on stage. However Bruno's delayed guitar riffs, strong vocal harmonies and classic guitarist poses prove he is just as focused as the others when it is required.
McDougal provides the soul, the icing on the cake. He constantly communicates with the band throughout, dominates the front when singing, and even adopts wide legged stances and light head banging during instrumental sections. The passion and energy, vented through his facial expressions and vocal performance, seem to point out that he is the inspiration behind the songs.
The content of the songs such as 'Brought a girl home tonight' tell us that the band are revealing to us their own experiences. Lyrics such as 'I won't land if Neverland is gone' and 'Ticking Clocks are counting down' make 'Neverland' the most appealing song of the set, reminding us of Disney's favourite Peter Pan.
Overall, 'Young ideas' are attractive to watch, their attitude is cool and their sound is commercial. However their interaction with the audience is very little, apart from Bruno's jokes and it is strange to watch a band who appear to have a lot to say about their music say nothing about the songs at all. Although many of the songs sound similar and pleasant, their individual thirst for catchy melody lines, thoughtful harmonies and contrasting structures show us that 'Young Ideas' have already matured into something serious.
New EP 'Not Coming Down' on iTunes and Amazon Feb 26th 2012, EP launch gig at The Library Pub Feb 25th 2012.