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Young Fathers / Wwwaters

Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom (Saturday March 24th 2018)

By • Apr 7th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

Well, this was quite a big deal.

Young Fathers sold this venue out pretty quickly, like 6 or 7 weeks after the gig was announced, before last Xmas. After a quiet couple of years in terms of releases, after a purple period of 3 albums in as many years (although they did support Massive Attack on tour and did a joint EP, and were involved in the T2 soundtrack) this is the first headline gig in Scotland in a few years. With a new album to promote (‘Cocoa Sugar’) where better to launch it in Scotland than the Barras. Edinburgh? Not a decent venue of the right size – Corn Exchange is dire, other venues are all-seated…so, here we all go then…

But first, relatively unknown support act Wwwaters, from Belgium, went down an absolute storm. They are a three-piece combo, fronted by the amazing Affro-ed Charlotte Adigery, and also comprising Steve Slingingeyer (of Soulwax) on drums and Boris Pupil on synths. Charlotte’s vocals and stage presence carried this off but the music was also quite amazing, some elements of trip-hop, soul and processed beats. With just a handful of tracks available online, they certainly have the tunes, and live they come across far better than than the recordings, in BM’s opinion. The crowd loved the six or seven tracks played tonight and the band clearly enjoyed this as well. Much love and hope they are back on these shores soon.

Young Fathers came on around 9.30 and the placed was rammed – with a cinematic backdrop that highlighted them in silhouette, they ruled this hall, from the start. There was a huge noise from the crowd throughout, probably the loudest they have had in a big venue, along with extensive dancing, pogo-ing and other moves. They played around 17 tracks, biggest proportion from new album ‘Cocoa Sugar’ but leaving room for a good trawl through the best of the back catalogue as well.

Mainly standing up in front for vocals, with “G” Hastings returning to the keyboard setup now and then to play the track out, or set the next one up, the three vocals were strident, overpowering at times and quite the best thing so far this year. Also mention must be made of touring drummer Steven Morrison, who pounded the beats throughout.

At their best, during new tracks like ‘Toy’ and older ones like ‘Get Up’ (which got the already excited crowd very excited indeed, moshing to Edinburgh’s music!) YF were untouchable, immense beats and background noises combined with the three vocals, Massaquoi, Bankole and Hastings combining, riffing off each other in the unique way that only they can.

BM has seen YF in smaller venues but this was the best soundmix yet, and was hugely impressive. The three frontmen stood proud between songs, facing down the crowd, establishing that they owned this stage.

It was sweaty and the Glasgow Saturday night crowd (all ages!) spurred them on. Shirts were shed, sweat was shed, and towards the end Hastings just about got away with a “we’re an Edinburgh band” comment but the “but we feel Glaswegian tonight” was shouted down, just going a bit too far.

The last track (“do you want more, will we go off and pretend to go back on for an encore?”) ‘Shame’ was as furious as any of the preceding tracks, and after 1 hour, 15 mins of mayhem they left the stage.

An epic gig, the combination of years of work – such respect due.

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