Gang of Youths Deliver a Raw and Wonderful Performance in Minneapolis 6/6/17
Gang of Youths’ Minneapolis show this past Tuesday was one of the most raw, honest and wonderful shows I have ever been to. The smaller crowd and venue allowed for an extremely powerful connection between frontman David Le'aupepe and the audience.
Opening their set with their newest single “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out”, the band arrived in full force. This song teases their sophomore album and stays true to their quick and flashing guitar lines and pounding drums. The softer tones of their loud alt-rock music provides an excellent platform for Le’apepe’s lyrics, without which their meaning might be lost beneath the noise. Le’apepe took the time to explain nearly every song to the crowd, giving each one an important weight. It’s easy to get lost in their catchy anthem songs, but this show gave me the chance to step back and really understand the lyrics.
Many of the themes in their debut album The Positions, released in 2015, deal with Le’apepe’s experiences with his former wife’s cancer and his trying personal experiences. “Knuckles White Dry” gave Le’apepe the chance to share one of the most trying times in his life with the audience while the rest of the band ceased playing. This is a man that examines the entire spectrum of humanity and remains so grounded while doing so.
Much to my excitement, they played three new songs that I assume will be included in the second album. Le’apepe joked with the audience about playing the same songs for four years and expressed the band’s need for variety. After these new songs, Le’apepe quoted Charles Bukowski, “as the spirit wanes the form appears”. This quote served as the inspiration for their song “Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane”, a nine minute triumph of profound lyrics, airy guitar and complex layering. I willingly got lost in it.
At the conclusion of their set, Gang of Youths returned to their hits “Magnolia” and “Radioface." Le’apepe’s presence became more playful, leaving the stage to dance with the audience and suggestively shaking his hips and beating his hand in time with the music. I think that “Radioface” live was an amazing improvement on their recorded version. The grittier live sound accompanied Le’apepe’s desperate singing to create an amazing atmosphere to close out the night. He made sure to thank the crowd for making the venue feel full, and I left the show more in awe of this band than before.