Live Review: Young Fathers

Stereo – 1/2/14

Young father

In the industrial setting of Glasgow’s Stereo the country’s hottest hip-hop trio prepare to take the stage. With the venue so packed that any movement is almost impossible there’s a real buzz surrounding the Anticon-signed threesome, here to launch their debut album Dead.

First though, Law takes to the stage to deliver a short set which verges on the indescribable. Shaven headed and clad in an over-seized turquoise suit, she’s utterly striking, an impression only reinforced by her unearthly music, an industrial hip-hop/soul hybrid that shakes the walls. Her guitar playing is rudimentary and the backing tracks skip, pop and grind but her sheer attitude is still something to behold, like Grace Jones cruising through Gotham City.

The trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham Hastings have been making music since 2008, releasing a pair of well-received EPs, Tape One and Tape Two. Tonight they launch their long overdue debut, a genre-hopping and futuristic blend of rap, soul and psychedelia that draws on the groups’ diverse cultural heritage whilst pushing Scottish hip-hop into uncharted territory.

The likes of ‘Dead’ and ‘Get Up’ are massive tunes; matching dark, infectious hooks to song structures that explode and unspool with little regard for convention, whilst a fierce ‘War’ demonstrates Hastings’ impressive and unlikely singing voice.

Energetic and sharply dressed, the trio present all the ingredients for a great live show, spitting lines ferociously, swapping mics and dancing smoothly as their drummer beats out a series of aggressive percussive tattoos. Klaxons wail and synths grind in an energetic racket reminiscent of Death Grips. Though they play little of their older, more conventional material, ‘The Queen is Dead’ still packs a mean bite, calling on the audience to break down to social and political orthodoxies.

Briefly Young Fathers thank the crowd and depart. There’s no need for braggadocio, they might just be the most exciting band in Scotland.

[Max Sefton]

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