Gang of Youths
Fremantle Arts Centre
REVIEW JESSIE PAPAIN
Gang of Youths are arguably Australia’s biggest band of the moment.
The Sydney quintet scooped a slew of ARIA Awards last year, including Album of the Year for their stunning sophomore record, Go Farther in Lightness, plus three of the Top 10 spots in Triple J’s Hottest 100.
Still riding high from the 2017 release, the band are on their second tour to promote the album and have once again sold out every date.
Part of the modern rock outfit’s appeal is the way their music seems to make warriors of their listeners — frontman Dave Le’aupepe’s heartfelt lyrics are full of calls to action to love deeply, live fully and not give up on ourselves.
However, there seemed to be a bit of magic missing from the first of two capacity shows at Fremantle Arts Centre.
There’s no doubt Le’aupepe is a captivating performer.
Part of the modern rock outfit’s appeal is the way their music seems to make warriors of their listeners.
Whether on guitar, solo at a grand piano or trying out some tongue-in-cheek dance moves, he is mesmerising to watch and haunting to hear.
And the set list was stellar, leading with Fear and Trembling and moving through their catalogue of moody tunes, with highlights being Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane, The Heart is a Muscle, Let Me Down Easy and Magnolia. But there was a lost connection between the stage and the crowd at times, with emotive ballads like Kansas and Perseverance failing to command attention the way they should have.
Expectations are certainly great for the group, and perhaps it’s just a symptom of how strong their first two records are that the bar they set for themselves is so high.
That aside, they were on point musically, with the vocals and instrumentation deep and rousing. The sense of inspiration and empowerment that infuses their work carried through to Le’aupepe’s brief moments of banter, where he reminded punters they could change their lives at any moment.
“If you feel like you’re a drunk teenager wandering through the world looking for a kebab, this is for you,” he said, before closing the main set with an enchanting rendition of The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows.