Live at Brudenell Social Club on Friday, 22nd May 2015
Seemingly without pausing for breath after the Mercury winning debut 'Dead', Young Fathers are touring their twisted psych pop follow up, 'White Men Are Black Too' around some of the UK's smaller venues. On tonight's evidence, this will probably be the last time we'll get to see them up close for a while. If you haven't experienced their live show in an intimate setting yet, do whatever you can to get to one right now -you need to see this.
Dry ice floods the room and stage lights blind and disorientate the audience. Without warning a huge drum sound jolts the audience and Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and 'G' Hastings arrive and launch into a stunning 'No Way', the delivery of which sets the tone for the whole gig. The three vocalists blend and intertwine to dizzying effect. Harsh aggressive raps dance with beautifully sung harmonies and, for a band whose music is reputedly oblique and challenging, they have hooks to die for.
Visually, it's pure theatre - but theatre that you'd actually want to go to. They have an unbelievable sense of how to strike a tableaux silhouetted against the lights and smoke. Famously recalcitrant, they barely acknowledge the audience but instead draw us to them with their stagecraft. 'G' Hastings has mastered the art of standing stock still and glaring at the audience menacingly; Alloysious Massaquoi has mastered the art of looming over the audience, also menacingly; while Kayus Bankole, as his frenetic dancing during an electric 'Get Up' demonstrated, will surely amaze audiences soon by achieving enough thrust to guarantee lift off and levitation. The way they weave and twist around each other is also undeniably sexy - I don't think my partner has enjoyed herself so much since she wore out her VHS copy of 'My Beautiful Launderette.'
However, it's not so much sex that spurs the performance, rather it's their defiance. They seem mightily pissed off. About everything. They're never hectoring or simplistic but anger is, indeed, an energy. The voices may be sublime but they want to defile palaces. A blistering, driving 'Shame' marries this attack with a Pied Piper approach to crowd engagement while the aggression of 'The Queen Is Dead' is pretty much self-explanatory. Post general election it's just what I want to hear.
There is, of course, no encore. Once they have closed their set with a beautifully mournful 'I Heard' they disappear. They've said all they need to say and have left the sold out Brudenell ecstatic and mind-blown. Tonight they convinced me that they are currently the UK's best band. I certainly wasn't the only convert.