Gang of Youths – 170 Russell, Melbourne (20.04.2016)

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From the beginning, they had us hooked.

Front man David Le’aupepe had the crowd from the first “shake of his ass”. His innate ability to make the crowd believe every word that he sang drew you in from the first second. Gang of Youths has always had a unique sound that focused heavily on its lyrical prowess. Yet, the band’s intimate performance expanded this connection with listeners even further.

The release of their debut album ‘The Positions’, which graced fans just over two years ago, was, lyrically, based on the life of Le’aupepe. The record examines the struggles of his wife’s battle with cancer, furthermore details their eventual separation. His hurt and his passion, his love and his fight come through the music the band produces. The front man’s ability to draw on his experiences and communicate them so well within his performance allowed him to make everyone in the room not only believe every word he spoke, but to also relate to it. The band’s ability to connect with its audience is extraordinary – from the beginning they had us all hooked.

Beginning with an unheard track titled ‘Rocky II’, and closely followed by crowd pleaser ‘Release and Restraint’, many in the audience already were mesmerised by rock group from Sydney. Le’aupepe took full advantage of the cameras in the front row, posing, kissing, and dancing for the flashing lights. Yet as the photographers left the front row, the barrier between the crowd and the band seemed to disband, both metaphorically and physically.

Their intimate performance of ‘Knuckles White Dry’ and ‘Kansas’ drew the audiences in. For a brief moment these performances took the audience to another place, and not for one second did the audience believe this place was not real. This connection continued as the set went on, and it became obvious that the band could do no wrong.Their spirited renditions of ‘Poison Drum’ and ‘Magnolia’, which comprised of Le’aupepe joining the crowd on the floor connected with the crowd in a different way. The performances the band produced inspired the audience, with both tracks screaming of triumph through despondency. These feel good tracks would have even made the most critical of punters smile.

 

 

As the band walked off stage, leaving their Fijian flag on the guitar amp, no one could be fooled that it was over. The band re emerged to play two final songs, ‘The Overpass’, which produced another spirited sing-along, After the band concluded with ‘Vital Signs’, which fittingly drew to a close the emotional roller-coaster the audience had experienced over the past hour or so. Gang of Youths were magnetizing from start to finish. As the four piece bowed for the final time, and the lights slowly returned to the venue, each show-goer was left mesmerised and touched by the ever-raw performance of the four piece.

If performances like these continue, and their studio content remains awe-inspiring, Gang of Youths will continue to expand their following even further in the coming months. By escaping his own reality, David Le’aupepe allowed others into his bewildered mind, allowing show-goers the opportunity to escape their own realities, even for just a moment.

Loved; How front man Dave Le’aupepe made everyone in the venue fall in love with every lyric he sang.

Hated; My friend got a hug and I totally got snubbed.

Drank; Cheap pots

 

Gang of Youths play their final Melbourne show of the tour tonight (Friday the 22nd) at 170 Russell, before heading back on the road. They tour around Europe and America before returning to Australia for Splendour in the Grass on July 23rd. 

Photos; Top image produced by Lauren Connelly of the AU Review (READ MORE: http://music.theaureview.com/photos/photo-gallery-gang-of-youths-the-gov-adelaide-15-04-16/). Bottom images kindly produced by committed gig-goer Effy Fairweather.

Corey Marshall

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