LIVE REVIEW: whenyoung – Liverpool


Arts Club, Loft, 19th April 2019

Words: Daniel Burton
Photos: Elena Katrina 

Bringing a smooth indie-rock sound to the Arts Club Loft, local support Shards opened the night with a performance filled with a subtle confidence. While there were no  signs of nerves they didn’t come come across ascocky either – it was a confidence that allowed them to play around the stage without showing off. A little touch of makeup in the shape of hearts on the singer’s face added a playful touch. 

Reflections, their only release to date, was a blend of chilled indie and slightly rockier vibes throughout. This has a number of layers, with bass lines, slow tantalising riffs and simple drum beats that all fit together to provide a very dreamy number that set the night off in a great way.

Throughout the set, it appeared that there was a building in tempo as the songs progressed but closing on Shades of White and Red, the start of this song appeared that they were bringing it back down again. However, this was not the case. It slowly but surely built into a crescendo of sound. It started with a thick groovy bass riff but was quickly accompanied by some classic rock sounding guitar riffs. Within the song, they broke it down and back together again a number of times, of which every one was timed perfectly and mastered amazingly. Whilst the slower dreamier numbers they played were without fault, I think the style of this final song is something they should stick with and pursue because they do it so well. It plays to their strengths and brings out the best of them.

Following the opening set of the night, the room slowly started to fill up a little more and so the main tour support LUCIA took the stage. As soon as they walked on stage and the first note was played, I knew I was in for a high energy set. With dyed pink hair and startling makeup, Lucia took the heat up from the opening act.

The second track on the setlist was Lose My Mind. The performance in this absolutely fills you with fear from the sheer ferocity that is in the music and the intense stare singer Lucia gives. The track is relatively slow, however the deep rocky sound of the guitar and the overall ominous feel is enough to give anyone goose bumps.

Following this, they played one of their most recognisable songs, recent single, BlueheartThis is truly as big sounding live as in the record, but when played live it immerses you into their world even more. You feel like you’re the only person in the room and you’re having your own personal performance.

Debuting an unreleased track Flame they brought a sound huge in power, led and driven by a pulsating bass line which has not been as prominent in their other tracks. Their sound lends itself perfectly to compact sweaty venues where the crowds are left with no choice but to mosh and get involved, but I can also see the energy they show at venues transferred to the big outdoor stages. 

Saturday Is Dead was the penultimate song for LUCIA and there was no sign of any let up in the energy. An up-tempo bass line and high-pitched guitar riff started a more poppy yet no less intense number from the Glaswegian 4-piece that certainly pricked my ears up. With rather raucous and disregarding lyrics, it further compounds the welcome friendly fear that this band strikes into you from their performance.

The final song of the night was the band’s debut single, Melted Ice Cream. From the opening lyrics, “Why do you hate me? You’re supposed to be my best friend”, this is an absolute sing-along classic. It is the perfect set finisher that gets the crowd involved and allows Lucia to let herself loose around the stage and terrify more unsuspecting victims one more time.

Sporting all red suits for the band and Aoife wearing all black, looking like they’d just come off shift from a 9-5 office job, whenyoung kicked off the headline set with a brand-new track Blankwall.

Having seen the band a number of times over the past year, I have come to know what to expect, but with this being the first time I’ve seen them headline, they have stepped it up even further. Adding a new bassist for the tour has meant Aoife can focus more on being a frontwoman and has allowed the whole band to flow better by focusing more on their own traits.

Throug their music, whenyoung bring their own identity that is unique to them, all bar none. Whether it be the voice that is rather reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan but softer and higher pitched or the sonic makeup of the tracks, it is a combination that separates them and makes them stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

Future is the newest release from the Limerick group and is taken from their debut album due for release 24th may. This is another classic whenyoung make up and works absolute wonders. It is perhaps a bit more poppy than some of their other tracks but this is sure to appeal to a much wider crowd, showing in the nearly 100,000 streams it has had in a matter of weeks, and it certainly had the crowd exciting, in particular one giddy gent that was uncontrollably bouncing around the room.

For a moment, the electricity of the night was brought down a step, much to the appreciation of the crowd after two fast-paced sets from LUCIA and Shards. Sleeper is a much slower acoustic track. With a quiet drum beat and cymbals accompanied by quiet riffs in behind, it brought a very peaceful and relaxing feel to the night, if only for a few minutes. This track shows that they have lots of talent in their locker, being able to play the upbeat tracks but also have the ability to slow it down and restrict themselves.

Bringing the night to a close, they played one of their newest yet biggest releases to date, Never Let Go. Despite the relatively huge success of this song so far, the chorus is just so big and I think still massively underrated. It has all the makings of a huge tune with a crowd that is willing to be involved and mosh. And with a busy summer festival schedule upcoming, I’m sure it will get more coverage and be a success with those crowds.

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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