Live Review – Youth Lagoon

Originally Published in the Heroes Issue, February 2016


“Glasgow, my friends” – that’s how Trevor Powers greets his audience, before saying how much he was enjoying his first time in Scotland. It’ll also be his last here, however, performing as Youth Lagoon. He said on twitter before the start of his 2016 tour that Youth Lagoon “is a space I no longer inhabit, nor want to inhabit”, announcing he would no longer be releasing music under that name.

Before moving on to the meat of Youth Lagoon’s performance, it would be criminal not to mention the two opening acts, Le Thug and Pixx. Le Thug were good, despite it being difficult to make out the vocals past the rest of the band (although I’m unsure if this was intentional or a technical problem). Pixx was enjoyable too, and I would especially recommend giving her a listen for her dreamy vocals similar in style to the Cocteau Twins.

The set-list for Youth Lagoon featured a reasonably wide selection from all three of his albums, but the largest number seemed to come from Wondrous Bughouse. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as his best work can be found there – most of which translated incredibly well into a live performance, partly because of the slightly alien nature of Powers’ persona. One song of note was his recent single ‘Rotten Human’, during which Powers pointed at his head and declared himself a “rotten human”. Also performed was ‘Sleep Paralysis’, the performance bringing an intensity and emotion to the song that just wasn’t there to the same degree in the studio version, with strobe lighting being used as Powers acted out a tantrum on stage. This was helped in no small part by the small and intimate nature of King Tut’s as a venue, which can create a feeling of a close relationship between band and audience.

It was after this song that Powers raised his bottle and said “cheers to the future; cheers to when you know where you’re going”, seemingly as reference to his future without Youth Lagoon. The final song (before the encore, at least) was ‘Dropla’, and the chorus – the repeated refrain of “you’ll never die” – was sung while pointing towards individuals in the audience, changing who he was pointing too every few repetitions of the lyric. The encore featured two songs: ‘Mute’ and ‘17’, the latter of which was done as a solo, without the band – feeling itself almost like a metaphor for Trevor Powers’ uncertain future in music.

[David McGinley]

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