Youth Lagoon live at Venue


Youth Lagoon finally came to Vancouver like a wall of sound after last year’s last minute cancellation on behalf of a Portland snow deluge. Their sound must have transformed in that period since Trevor Powers put out a show that left many wondering if indeed they’d stepped into the right venue Saturday evening. The songs were the same, the quality not quite so. Uncharacteristic given the wildly acclaimed album Year of Hibernation was always imagined as a lo-fi nostalgic and introspective record. The live performance and its sound however somehow were closer to what you would expect from a post-punk band or even a nightclub house DJ. The spaciousness of his melodic synths was completely lost in the swelling beat box that all but seemed to destroy the room’s overhanging woofers. At some point I thought I was dancing but it was just the floor trembling underneath my feet. Even the in-between words from our frontman were awkward, garbled and obscure, as was coincidentally the on-stage lighting that resembled a Godspeed! You Black Emperor’s legendary darkness. Making it impossible to see Trevor or his guitarist’s face we were left with the technical performance to watch for. Despite and even after all of the above and also some minor glitches in the actual performance of the two band members on stage in the packed Venue the album spoke for itself.

Regardless: no sound mixer, light technician or even inexperienced front man could flaw Youth Lagoon’s debut LP. The Year of Hibernation has quickly earned an almost mythical place in its ever growing fan base in the West Coast and beyond. The songs were recognizable and that all the public came in expecting. Some danced, couples hugged, friends sung along; an invisible community came together early that night to listen to an album that has left a melancholic mark on everyone. It is a modern classic and that much was proven with the appeased euphoria when Cannons ringed first. Not to speak of the encore that was Seventeen. The two-piece was almost stationary and reserved except for when piano pounding, synths seared and guitarist Logan ventured his impression of Jonny Greenwood during Daydream. Just like Youth Lagoon appeared to play their short set without much introduction the band left and the dim vertical monochromatic floodlights faded into black. Perhaps on a symbolic level it is perfectly appropriate since that’s exactly how I remember my own teenage years. In one day with the terrible loudness of life and its tempestuous summers. Out the next with a milder autumns and the melancholy left from strange expectations. All things considered from past regrets, those were nevertheless good years and it was in hindsight a great show.

One more thing,

words by chris kummerfeldt.

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