Young Fathers rocked the Independent Saturday with Mas Ysa in a show we have been looking forward to for a while now.
First up was Mas Ysa, is the stage name used by Thomas Arsenault. The artist was born in Canada, but went to high school in Brazil, where he began creating electronic music. His sound is refined and carries depth and soul with it. It’s pop music for the melancholy and existential. The energy in his showmanship translated to the crowd despite him being confined behind a desk of audio equipment. Barefooted, and bare-souled he stood on his tip toes shaking the sound up his body and out toward the audience.
His set consisted of songs from his EP album Worth, released last February. He also performed his newest single “Look Up,” which was an anticipated crowd pleaser. He’ll accompany Young Fathers for most of their final U.S. tour dates, and will be performing with Tanlines for a couple appearances in New York next month.
After a fittingly energetic opening, Young Fathers arrived on stage. Their set design was simple; a flag with their logo hung behind the drums. Their bright performance was a stark contrast to their bare bones decor. The three piece group ebbed and flowed to the beat, break dancing and flailing maracas beaded with puka shells.
The band was formed in Scotland, but has a heavy African influence to their sound, which is more than likely due to two of the members having roots in Liberia and Nigeria. They played a lot of the tracks off their newest album White Men are Black Men Too, released earlier in April. The album is raucous, frustrated and hard to classify. It’s a hyphenation of rap-rock-pop-tronic in seamless harmony with each other.
Toward the end of their set they seemed weary, possibly drained from their explosive presentations earlier in the night. Although they didn’t play an encore, they did take time to hang out with fans near the bar afterward. They’ll finish their tour in the U.S. at Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama May 15-17th.