The emergence of Gang of Youths during the break of this year’s dawn has proven there is still talent forming away from the heavily electronic & psychedelic rock influenced Australian scene. With one of the best Like A Versions of 2015, their take on LCD Soundsystem’s 7-minute long ‘All My Friends’ embodied the noble character they continue to bolster. Despite their late 2013 single ‘Evangelists’ scoring them a support slot for Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City tour, GOY remained relatively quiet throughout the entirety of last year as they cleaned up their debut album, The Positions. With the album divulging into an introspective part of his life – being in a relationship with a woman who had a terminal illness, David Leaupepe further deepened his role of frontman quite naturally.
Compiling a track list that constantly pulls at your heartstrings; the live set drags you through swamps of anguish before striking you with moments of sudden elation. The start however, was a bit more fun. Acknowledging the high levels of energy circulating throughout the mosh, the five piece dove into ‘Poison Drum’, a wildly fast paced number that has junctures of straight out jamming mixed with determined vocals. The immensely personal tone of the album was brought to the gig as Leaupepe jumped to the punter barriers on a number of occasions, embracing the responsive nature of the band’s committed fans.
Pausing mid-set to point out a lone member of the crowd, Leaupepe described his first moment in the Metro Theatre when he was mere age of 14. Utilising the special occasion, he was incredibly in tune with the audience he was playing for, making grasping a sense of empathy a simple task. For songs such as ‘Knuckles White Dry’, in which Leaupepe was left alone on stage with nothing but a microphone and a keyboard – the audience were left in awe & silence. As isolated piano chords progressed like a story, the heart-wrenching words leaving his mouth were spoken directly in line with his parents who watched on from the upper level of the theatre. This was somewhat continued with ‘Riverlands’ as the same chilling feeling was achieved, despite a couple of people deciding it was the right time to speak as loudly as they could.
The light harp sounding synths that begin the immaculate ‘Magnolia’ ignited the crowd into spurs as the band strutted around the stage as if they were the winners of “Dancing with the Stars” (many moves of which can be seen in their recently released video clip above). Infamous for their use of ALL CAPS on multiple social media platforms, it’s definitely evident where the aggressiveness stemmed from. Optimism is an important message ingrained throughout a couple of the songs on the album. In songs like ‘Radioface’, the audience was sent on adventures that would briefly uncover feelings of liberation.
Sadly, sometimes a well-polished record has a poor transition to performances in front of fans. That was not the case for the Gang, as their passionate style is just as cohesive in person as it is in the studio. Not an easy feat to accomplish, the band’s ability to reinforce Leaupepe’s raw voice in a live environment gave the set extra vibrancy.
Gang of Youths have undoubtedly lived up to the virtuosity they’ve had pouring out of their souls since their formation & deserve all recognition they can get.