Gracie Crowley | February, 06 2016
The Young Father’s gig was the first gig of 2015 for me. I had only recently become aware of the three man hip-hop group, due to their appearance on the Falls Festival line up. The trio who hail from Edinburgh, Scotland; where they became a more prominent presence on the hip-hop circa after winning the Mercy Prize for their debut album Dead, had returned to our shores with their latest album White Men are Black Men Too.
Now going in to see these guys, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I’d listened to their discography on Spotify multiple times and had blasted their tunes on my daily runs; I’d also done some google-ing about the band members. But what I experienced that evening was a delightful surprise.
These three human beings bounded onto the stage and dived straight into the performance with such energy and volume that it was a shock to the senses. Every person I could see in the crowd, including myself, instantly started bopping along to the unique and energetic sound.
Voodoo In My Blood, Rain or Shine and I Heard were all undeniable hits; I cannot recall a song that didn’t have people at the very least swaying to the beat. Although a special boogie was definitely had when they played the stand out hits Shame and Get Up, with at least three people in earshot declaring ‘what a tune!’ as they danced their way closer to the front for both.
Overall I had a wonderful experience at the Corner, which also happens to be one of my favorite venues here in Melbourne, listening to the wonderfully talented trio that is Young Fathers. I actually could not fault the sound and the crowd was one of the most pleasant I’ve experienced at the Corner.
I’m glad that in the days preceding the gig I did my google-ing, because afterwards the some things clicked. Firstly, I did notice a rather political motive behind their lyrics. Their chatter before songs about being “accepting Australians” who “do not turn people in boats away from their shores” struck a huge chord with the crowd, who clapped and cheered in support. Another was their acknowledgement of the first Australians, our indigenous founders. This also struck a chord with the crowd, who clapped and cheered even louder at these references.
I discovered the members, Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and ‘G’ Hastings had come from somewhat varying backgrounds of disadvantage.
Alloysious was born in Liberia and moved to Edinburgh at a young age. Kayus, was born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents and actually lived in Nigeria for a period of time before returning to Edinburgh. “G” was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the housing scheme of Drylaw (which for us Aussies who mightn’t be familiar, is similar to government housing.)
As one mere person in the crowd that evening, it was a humbling experience to watch all three members who are now world-touring artists, with a clearly growing fan base, perform with such energy, passion and talent. These guys even go without an encore as they truly do pour all of themselves into their set. The energy not once faltered and it was an experience I would definitely recommend to you all.
I did unfortunately miss the opening act for Young Fathers. Note to self – don’t get distracted at dinner beforehand. My sincere apologies for not being able to review Black Vanilla and Ecca Vandal who I’m sure were wonderful in their own right.
So to conclude, Young Fathers were Hip-Hop with a message. With a level of energy I haven’t felt from an artist for a while. I would without a doubt encourage you to add these guys to your playlist and delve into the beats that make Young Fathers a unique musical experience.
Top 5 recommended songs:
- I Heard
- Get Up
- Voodoo In My Blood
- Rain or Shine
(This was supposed to be my first article for the wonderful Juliet Report, however David Bowie’s passing, the Hottest 100 and my 21st Birthday all seemed to capture my attention first, apologies and I hope you enjoyed!)
[Credits: Words by Gracie Crowley and Illustration by Juliet Sulejmani]