Young Fathers


When the Mercury Prize rolled around in 2014, few had anticipated Young Fathers to walk away with the £25k. However, their artful coalition of hip-hop, art-pop and whatever else they fancy have garnered them a sizeable following, enough to suitably pack the beautiful Manchester Albert Hall.

The group’s live keyboardist Callum Easter opens proceedings, stepping onto the platter with an accordion and a slow, lumbering start. The first song is pleasant enough, but doesn’t exactly fill the room. However, things pick up when the second track launches with a pulsating beat, which matches with the accordion-folk reasonably well. This is the format for a bulk of the songs on show, Callum caressing the accordion over the James Murphy-quoting palpitations. Overall, the more bare-bones songs are fine, but whenever I see him tinkering with the analogue toy box beside him, I become much more excited.

Then comes the main event, and straight from the outset, they show nothing but brute force. Slow, apocalyptic drums storm at the back, a thunderous bass wakes into consciousness, and the trio’s individual personas bounce off the immense light canvas behind it all, illuminating the ensemble to heighten the drama.

Though I wasn’t entirely familiar with the Fathers’ material going into the Albert Hall, there was something about seeing it in a live context, that it could well be enjoyed by anybody of any musical creed. Something about viewing G, Kayus and Alloysious as silhouettes cavorting against the thrashing instrumentals, it’s so primal, it operates on the same human level that relates our historical ancestors. Even the lighter tracks have a funk element that results in such infectious rhythms, with tracks like ‘In My View’ and ‘Old Rock n Roll’ sounding excellent inside the stained glass windows of the Hall. The only snag is the group refraining from direct audience interaction, which to some could halt that personal disconnect that makes you fall in love with a band, but for most, the strength of the performance will ensure that anyway. Bottom line is, if you have the opportunity to see these guys live, seize it.

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