Monday, 11 April 2016

Gig Review - Gang Of Youths

Gang Of Youths
Live at The Tivoli, Brisbane 08.04.16
Supported by Spookyland and Day Wave 

5pm Friday night, a ticket in hand to a band that have become one of my favourites over the last twelve months. In what turned out to be a series of fortunate events, the people I was going with couldn't make it and the show had sold out months previously, so a decision had to be made. I’d not been to a gig of this size on my own, was I prepared to go by myself? I always picture myself as an independent don’t-need-no-one-but-me kind of woman, but this was something I’d never done before. It was a social condition I hadn’t faced – a gig, by myself? Is dancing and singing by oneself in a room full of other people’s friends and their friends a little bit weird? Music and the experience is something I’ve always shared and loved to share. Could I really do this, all by myself (but not like Celine)? My little ticket felt…lonely, self-consciousness kicked in quickly and a huge part of me was more than a little unsure. There was a sensible (read: boring) voice in my head telling me to stay home, but the voice of a bolder me was a little bit louder. And if pretending to be an adult has taught me one thing, it’s to become a little reckless and do what I want, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And so it should be, me, my gang of one and them, the Gang Of Youths.

I know The Tivoli well. I’ve seen a thousand bands on that stage. I’m comfortable there, so with me and my gang of…me, I walked straight to my favourite spot, left of stage. Finding a vantage point was easy, I only needed room for me but when you are on your own in this kind of environment, you become hyper-aware of your surroundings, so watching the antics and listening to the chats of my fellow patrons attempting to steal someone’s shoes was entertaining, to say the least. I found myself in a position of having the time and undivided attention to watch and enjoy both support acts without distraction; Spookyland, a four piece from Sydney, felt a little bit Oasis at times and I did find out later two of them are brothers, so maybe it was the sibling thing I picked up on. Note to self made: investigate more of Spookyland (investigations tell me their album Beauty Already Beautiful is out May 6). The second support, Day Wave, which I’ve since discovered is a project of one guy, Jackson Phillips, were indie rock and indie pop and indie indie, whatever that is these days. ‘Deadbeat Girl’ seemed to be the stand out track for Mr Lightning Bolt shirt standing next to me “Deadbeat Girl! Play it again! Yeah, Deadbeat Girl!” but I liked all the songs I heard, so more homework about Day Wave is to come.

As I and my gang listened in to the surrounding discussions about where iconic Brisbane venue, The Zoo is and how long it has been there (only forever guys!) thoughts of the band I was about to see began to swirl around my head. I remember my fellow blogger Matt telling me sometime last year that he had bought an album called The Positions and he couldn’t stop listening. We share a lot of love of similar music (duh, blog) so it didn’t take long before I found myself in a similar position, totally enamoured and completely obsessed by an album that found its way into my life soundtrack very, very quickly and planted itself there very, very firmly. All of the times I have heard it and needed it came rushing to mind as the lights dimmed and the members of GOY took to the stage, lights from behind creating a silhouette of frontman Dave Le'aupepe, a man who wears his heart right there on his sleeve, spotlights pointing at all the people who need it, and it was the perfect way to begin the experience that Gang Of Youths are.

All of the songs, some from the album and some a tease of what is to come were beyond what I could have imagined from the seat of my car, from the headphones I have found them in so many times before. Each and every one performed as it should be, the crowd singing along with so many words and the odd feeling of being my gang of one in a crowd of many drifted away with each chord, each beat meaning a little bit more in a live setting. ‘Restraint And Release’ perfectly named for its live performance, ‘Radioface’ a song that was made to be performed, ‘Poison Drum’ taken far beyond its limits, to places only the most talented of bands can take a song in a live environment. The thing that really struck me about this band was how much they believe in their sound and just how much that resonates with their audience. Each member is as important as the next, relying on each other and standing next to each other as one, and that kind of band is an absolute pleasure to watch. The contrast of a taste of Outkast followed by what Dave described simply as “a song about cancer” was exactly what this Gang Of Youths are; everything about life, the good the bad, the in between and the desperate search for something and anything amongst it all is exactly what I adore about them. Seeing it live with so many other people but all by myself was an honour, not just a gig.

Friday night yes, I saw a rock show, but for me it was also a beautiful and important lesson I have learnt a thousand times over but it's nice to be reminded of again. As simple as it was, going to a rock show by myself was something I’d not done before and that should be celebrated in itself, but I realised as I was jumping, singing and dancing on my own, that as my gang of one I was part of a gang of many and although I left and drove home on my own, I was not alone. With an intense love for music and everything it has done for me, and as a fan of such talented musicians like this Gang Of Youths, whatever life throws my way, I will never be vastly outnumbered, any mother fucking time.

Gang Of Youths continue their tour throughout Australia in April, then head to the UK/Europe in May and the US throughout June. Here's hoping we get a taste of that new EP somewhere around then too.

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