Young Fathers (‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole) are hard to define: they are hip hop and punk, rock and pop, at times they are instrumental and almost always they are political. Last year the trio dropped White Men Are Black Men Too, a critically acclaimed album backed by no one other than Big Dada. WMABMT is not a Sunday morning album, it is emotionally and contextually charged with hard beats and heavy drums.
The trio have been on the road for some time now, first with Massive Attack through Europe and now North America with solo shows and through major festivals. Last weekend the Scottish trio played a show at Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver.
Fortune is one of those venues that has an end time for listed shows. If you don’t guestimate your arrival correctly you might actually miss a show, people have done it, for real. The show invite promised Young Father to arrive with guests so to be safe, so as to not miss anything potentially mind-blowing, we arrived quite early. For reasons that will remain a mystery to me none of the guests showed. For what felt like hours the room was slowly packing in to the sounds of the house DJ recycling through old tracks and Tame Impala albums. But just as patience, and personal space, began to wear out Young Fathers took the stage.
With the first beats of the drum intro the energy began to rise in the room. Bankole opened the set with “No Way” and went straight into “Feasting” after. The track opens quite gently, but as soon as the chorus hits things get real – electric, magnifying. Seeing “Feasting” live was what I imagine like learning how to walk is – shockingly surprising and gratifying. The rest of the set was equally powerful. Young Fathers worked through their repertoire like a roller-coaster up and down towards “Old Rock N Roll” and “Shame.”
Without any encore, possibly due to the venue’s time restrictions, Young Fathers wrapped up their set shortly after 10 p.m. The crowd stuck around a little longer hoping for more and likely coming off of the high that the show was. Having now seen them live I understand why Kate Tempest called them “fucking brilliant” – I concur.