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Youth Lagoon’s Beautiful Simplicity at Mercury Lounge

Posted on the 21 November 2011 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie


The good word travels fast when it comes to Youth Lagoon (@youthlagoon). Though the debut album from Boise, Idaho’s Trevor Powers only dropped at the end of September, the line outside of Mercury Lounge strectched all the way down the block before the first of his two sold-out shows beginning on Monday night.

Australian trio Young Magic (@itsyoungmagic) started the night off with a short set of world music-inspired songs accented with ethereal vocals. The group’s music is quite literally off-beat, focusing on deep, bass-y drums that remained very forward in the mix — not to mention the fact that the percussionist was definitely the most interesting to watch on stage. It might behoove Young Magic, though, to stir things up a bit and put greater emphasis on a different area of their unique sound. The intertwining vocals of the three band members and the interesting guitar lines that weave their way between the big beats certainly deserve more attention.

While Youth Lagoon’s The Year Of Hibernation is beautiful in its subdued simplicity, I have to admit I was a little worried about how that delicate sound would translate to a live show. Luckily, Powers’ music works just as well on stage as it does through headphones. In a live setting, though, he employs guitarist Logan Hyde to fill out the quiet moments between keys and adds heavy drum tracks for greater bass and movement to the songs. They were primed for dancing (well…swaying) and nodding along, and the Monday night crowd obliged.

Powers also delivered an emotionally stellar vocal performance. Pushing his lips right up against the microphone, turning the corners of his mouth downward, raising his eyebrows, and closing his eyes, he punched the keyboard with perfectly-timed knuckle spasms. Despite this intensity while performing, though, he was extremely jovial, exclaiming how happy he was to be there, thanking Young Magic, and making jokes about his cold medicine-induced, delirious conversations. This is clearly not a melancholy guy.

“17″ was a highlight for me. While a close inspection of the song’s lyrics might evoke a depressed feeling, what truly stuck with me from the performance was “When I was seventeen, my mother said to me, ‘Don’t stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die.’” This chunk of the chorus reminded me that, while I may be past the age of 17 and well into the thick of my adulthood, the cruelest thing I could do to myself would be to stop striving, to stop creating. Powers has put this ideal to the test and seems to be doing brilliantly. He is, after all, selling out Mercury Lounge two nights in a row.

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