Five stars for a sold-out Young Fathers gig at the Barrowlands
The Edinburgh ensemble brought an energetic crowd and delivered an outstanding performance.
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Beneath the luminous flashing sign that fronts the Barrowlands Ballroom herds of music fans lined the Gallowgate last night, preparing to witness the first of two sold out sets by the Edinburgh trio, Young Fathers. The 2014 Mercury Prize winning band and 2023 nominee is comprised of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham ‘G’ Hastings. In the thick of their short UK tour, the group is promoting the release of their fourth album, Heavy Heavy.
Categorising their music is no simple task. What they deliver is a pressurised symphony of divergent soundscapes, a kaleidoscope of genre blending - hip hop, pop, rock n roll, indie, lo-fi, electro, psychedelic, soul - infusing musical cultures and bestowing a collective sense of euphoria upon the audience before them.
The band’s high energy gelled through their audience; arms cut through the air, hips swayed and feet beat in consistent ecstatic motions right through the room. A warm glow swelled from the stage, forming dancing shadows against a draped canvas backdrop, amplifying the spectacle.
Each member respectively has roots in Liberia, Nigeria and Scotland, and it is from these cultural traditions they have sourced inspiration, infused elements of each and created something entirely new.
They opened strong with ‘Shoot Me Down’ and successfully retained levels of enthusiasm through the set, culminating during the latter part with ‘Rice’ - the opening track of the album. The core three were joined by two backing vocalists, a guitarist and a drummer, adding to the artistic dynamic.
Additionally, they welcomed support in the form of Callum Easter, a fellow Edinburgh-based musician who reigned in a healthy crowd with transformed folk songs - uptempo and electric.
Following tonight’s Glasgow performance, Young Fathers have one more Scottish date in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall before travelling to North America for a US leg of their bombastic tour.