Last Wednesday night, a nearly sold out Fillmore welcomed lo-fi pop group Youth Lagoon to the stage for the very first time. Playing in such an iconic venue – where the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd all performed – one would think Youth Lagoon would come prepared to put on one of their best shows ever. Especially since this stop in SF was going to be one of their last before heading overseas for a month-long tour across Europe. But the lack of engagement from Trevor Powers (the lead singer of the group), as well as the dismissal of a few key songs, left many fans feeling dissatisfied. Remarks on the “ridiculously short encore” and clarifying questions such as “I didn’t miss any of the beginning, right?” were frequently heard as concert-goers filed out of the venue.
Powers started the show apologizing and admitting to the crowd that he felt sick. After theatrically taking a shot of honey to sooth his vocal chords, the group kicked into “No One Can Tell,” a song off their most recent album Savage Hills Ballroom.
Throughout the rest of the night, Youth Lagoon consistently alternated between playing songs off their three albums. A very clear distinction could be heard when the group played a song from The Year of Hibernation, their very first album, versus a song from Wondrous Bughouse or Savage Hills Ballroom.
The Year of Hibernation, which debuted in 2011, is filled with mellow keys and soft, conversational-style lyrics. The songs sound like they were recorded in a tiny bedroom, giving the listener a feeling of familiar intimacy. As soon as the lights dimmed and Powers sat down at the keyboard, the Fillmore crowd knew what to expect. Wondrous Bughouse and Savage Hills Ballroom are much more aggressive in nature, with layered drums and melodic precision. Powers and the group really showed off their diversity with this album, shifting away from the dream-like, hazy nature and moving more towards blunt force and kinetic sounds. This shift became extremely evident when Powers abandoned his mellow keyboard and started jerking and thrashing around on stage during the songs “Officer Telephone” and “Dropla.” Read More