h

PSA: If you didn’t see Gang Of Youths in Melbourne, you missed one of the best shows of 2017

Gang of Youths are a precise and excellent outfit, a joy to behold. So often front and centre, Le’aupepe is simply just so fun to watch. He’s so in tune with the music.

  • }
Image source: 
Hania Glapa

"Three years ago we played here with Vampire Weekend and nobody gave a shit. So thank you for giving a shit," David Le’aupepe, Gang of Youths frontman said to a crowd so adoring, it was hard to believe such a thing were possible.
 
He's so damn likeable that I caught myself in the ludicrous situation of musing our hypothetical children would have wild, curly hair.
 
The set opened with the instrumental string track L’imaginaire, before the band came on to a thunderous applause for What Can I Do if the Fire Goes Out? and Atlas Drowned. Fear and Trembling and Sjamboska rounded out a powerful introduction to one of the best shows of the year.
 
They performed with trademark emotion, a gorgeous version of Kansas and then Knuckles White Dry brought to life by nothing butLe’aupepe piano. The song, about Le’aupepe’s ex-wife’s battle with cancer, was preceded with the news that she had recently passed away. Lighters were whipped out across Festival Hall as the crowd joined in on his request. “I think she’d like that,” he said softly.
 
However, while tears were still fresh in my eyes, he took to the stage dancing with all the joy in the world to Let Me Down Easy and Magnolia, emulating Queen B with the swing of his hips and the flourish of his hands. 
 
Confessing that their early reviews were largely brutal, I was smugly satisfied knowing I'd be writing nice things about the deserving Sydney outfit. Their balance between their pop sensibilities and punk elements is so effortlessly on point. To say they do one style better than another is a disservice,
 
Gang of Youths are a precise and excellent outfit, a joy to behold. So often front and centre, Le’aupepe is simply just so fun to watch. He’s so in tune with the music, whether it’s the melancholy of Kansas, or the energy of Sjamboska.
 
He moves about the stage in perfect time with the punchy beat, and spitting lyrics with the flick of his tongue just as fast. However, despite the frontman’s immaculate stage presence, drummer Donnie Borzestowski often steals the spotlight. He is impeccable, this speed and skill with which he plays is utter madness.
 
They finished the nearly two hour set to a standing ovation across the hall, after perfectly roaring renditions of RadioFace, Heart is a Muscle, and Vital Signs. Still the show kept on, with an encore surmising the best of what they have to offer. Go Farther in Lightness, Say Yes to Life left no doubt that they are one of the best and most exciting acts Australia has to offer.
 
Highlight: Le’aupepe's epic dancing to Let Me Down Easy and Magnolia, and an entire crowd singing along.
Lowlight: I wish they'd played The Good Fight from their sensational 2016 EP Let Me Be Clear.
Crowd favourite: Did you not hear me? Le’aupepe was dancing à la the Magnolia music video. Highlight and crowd fave in one gorgeous, curly maned package.