Yung

support Total Heels
author PP date 04/03/15 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

Rewind just one year and nobody had heard of Århus-based garage punkers Yung. Today, they are hyped by pretty much every hipster between New York and London with positive coverage from Pitchfork leading the band into mainstream limelight here at home, and into coveted international gigs in London, Oslo and elsewhere, not to even mention a slot at Roskilde Festival this coming summer. Quite an impressive feat for a band whose singer is only 20 years old and who have only put out one full-length record "Falter". Its international version, the 6-track "Alter" EP, is just now doing rounds in the international media. Tonight, Stengade is packed with between 100 and 150 people showing up on a weekday night to check out the band doing a one-off in Copenhagen in between their international duties. A rare opportunity to catch the band playing an intimate show before they progress into bigger venues, and a preview of their Roskilde performance, I thought, and so here we are with some words about the evening.

Total Heels

Total Heels

To do the opening honors, Yung have selected Total Heels from Copenhagen for the showcase, a post-punk meets garage rock quartet who make do without a bassist in their sound. Their vocalist is from the US, I'm told, which is why he addresses the crowd in English throughout the night. Stylistically, the band fall somewhere in between the cheerful and energetic garage of of The Thermals and a more rock'n'roll oriented band sourcing heavily from post-punk and indie rock at the same time. It's quite an artistic interpretation of each genre, but not without a decent amount of tempo and noteworthy breakpoints which see the band break way from their formation to shake around the stage as if they were having a seizure. Indeed, they display great energy throughout, with their keyboardist in particular engaging in an impressive attitude-driven performance, ramming the keys like there's no tomorrow and even banging his head against the board a couple of times during the set. Their singer is in constant small movement, shaking across the stage, and their guitarist is in on the action as well. The same can't be said about the crowd, however, who are more interested in a completely static, stand-still mode showing no interest whatsoever in creating a working dynamic against the band's energy. It's a shame, because the lack of movement from the crowd's side means the Total Heels set quickly becomes somewhat monotonous and repetitive in its nature. The band deserves more; any effort which results in everyone in the band being drenched in sweat at the end of the show is worthy of praise even if you're not into the artistic leaning of the band in question.

7

Yung

Yung

But back to Yung. On record, their expression lies pretty much exactly halfway between the coarse-but-melodic punk rock of The Distillers and the Seattle-flavored grunge of Nirvana. Live, the latter side of the band manifests itself even more, with their vocalist often coming close to sounding like a long-lost descendant of Kurt Cobain. Their soundscape is distorted and off-tune precisely in the manner that makes hipsters think of this as so punk, yet to a more experienced veteran in the genre like yours truly, it's more like an old school, pre-90s style take on the genre. Fast, but jammed with metropolitan New York claustrophobia in the process. It's very melodic despite a raw feel, and their main draw is clearly their vocalist's grunge-laden voice that's simply awesome to experience live. No production tricks used here, that's for sure.

Yung

In terms of the stage show, the band display far less energy than Total Heels just before them. Most songs are played stand-still with only tiny movement in each members' personal spaces, and there's next to no interaction with the crowd in between songs. It also appears that people aren't familiar with most Yung songs yet aside from the YouTube single "Nobody Cares" that receives the biggest cheer of the night from the audience. Who, by the way, are still not interested in any sort of movement and stand almost frozen throughout the set. First time I've seen that at a punk show as packed as this one. The last song they play practically sounds like a grungy version of a Blink 182 song from "Take Off Your Pants & Jacket"-era given its guitar lead melody-line, which also feels similar to Alkaline Trio classic "Cringe". The whole ordeal lasts for forty minutes with little crowd support other than after-song cheers, and a slightly stand-still scene show with little happening on stage. While the songs are better than Total Heels, the band aren't exactly exciting to watch live especially without a working crowd dynamic. Decent, but room for improvement. Music this fast simply requires you to jump around and go crazy on stage.

7

Photos by: Victor Yakimov

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