Review by Cain Suleyman with Photography by Cath Dupuy

As 2018 draws to a close, I usually create a list of the best gigs, albums and songs of the year. This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but a night at Brixton with Young Fathers made that decision a whole lot easier.

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Tonights support came from Belgium singer, Petite Noir. The Art Pop genre has began to expand in popularity and typical traits of the genre are smooth, yet rhythmic, sounds with vocals that belong in the higher range of the singers register. It was to my delightful surprise to hear much lower tones bellowing out of the 28 year old whose voice hit every spectator hard. It was impossible to pick out a still figure in the stalls. The grooves that came from the drummer planted a dancing seed with no way of stopping it.

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The band came to the stage in neutral outfits with Petite Noir, real name Yannick Llunga, dressed in the most elaborate red outfit that could be seen a mile away. This was the only hint of colour in an otherwise simplistic set up, which still held a strong connection with the audience to show that all you need, to entertain, is good music that resonates with good people.

These major key sounds were soon overshadowed by extremely minor key noises that came in the form of Young Fathers. They came to the stage with no intentions of messing about, as they open with in incredibly intense ‘Wire’. The mess of synths and low drum patterns cause a disarray in the minds of those watching as we all take a moment to get over the sudden impact of one of the best bands of the year.

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The band dropped their latest album, Cocoa Sugar, early this year, which was described by listeners as ‘twisted sounds for a twisted generation’. This is not a false statement at all. Heavy breathing takes over the speakers and injects into our ears as the band begin ‘Toy’, which fills us strong movement urges. Floor toms and cymbals are thrown to the ground by band member ‘Kayus Bankole’ who is an unstoppable force of energy, bounding across in circles and suddenly halting to a pause as he sings with such delicacy and torment.

It’s not difficult to see just how big Young Fathers are in the world of music. With major festival slots such as Cochella and Glastonbury, it’s safe to say that no matter where you see them, you’ll have an enlightening and emotional feeling. But seeing them inside the space of Brixton Academy gave an extremely intimate experience. Unlike seeing a band at an open air festival, I felt transfixed to the bands music and almost had the feeling of being one with the music. A dark blue setting fills with room with sudden flashes of blinding white light that sends a tremor down our spines. The kind of tremor that you get when going through a nightmare. ‘Wow’. If there was ever a song to replicate a nightmare, it would be this song. Minor bass tones with high and sharp jabs of synth really make you feel present in your darkest of dreams, only this isn’t an ordeal. This is simply a song that puts one in a dazed state of joy and belonging.

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It’s hard not to notice the heavy religious tones to the bands music. They begin the final stretch of their set with the immensely emotional and spine tingling ‘Lord’, which opens with the lyrics “Lord don’t pay me no mind. Lord if you choose the time.” This is a song to represent the meaning of oxymoron. This would be one of their most delicate songs if it weren’t for the booming synths that vibrates your chest. But this completes a song that caused a number of tears to shed around me from the opening.

The Scottish trio don’t speak throughout the vast majority of the gig. They entered, they played and as their entered their grand finale, ‘G’ Hastings dedicated the final song to Theresa May and Brexit. ‘Shame’.

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Setlist:
Get Started
Wire
Queen is Dead
Feasting
Toy
Wow
Get Up
Dare Me
Rain or Shine
Old Rock n Roll
I Heard
In My View
Low
Border Girl
Only God Knows
Lord
Shame

See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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