photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon releases his third album Savage Hills Ballroom this week, and in celebration of that he played a release show at Rough Trade NYC last night (9/21). I hadn't seen Youth Lagoon since he was touring The Year of Hibernation as a duo with a drum machine, but a lot has changed since then. His current four-piece band makes him sound fuller and tighter in every way, and back in 2012 I was disappointed that the intimacy of his album was lost in the stage show, but his new album demands an extroverted performance. In some ways it feels like the most natural record he's made.

We said before that the new album shares a producer with Perfume Genius and it's not crazy to compare the two, and after seeing it live I especially think that. Like at PG's Too Bright shows, Trevor Powers is now giving ultra physical performances. At one point the bassist grabbed a drumstick to have two people crashing cymbals at once, as Trevor ran from his keyboard to the front of the stage to flail his limbs. It might sound weird written out, but live it looked like a display of raw emotion. The band's light show is superb too. It was great to see this at the intimate Rough Trade, but it's obvious that their show is ready for the larger Webster Hall in October.

Though every Youth Lagoon album is different, the new one fits best with The Year of Hibernation, which probably explains why we didn't get much of the kaleidoscopic psych pop Wondrous Bughouse last night. The full-band versions of those Year of Hibernation tracks sounded fantastic though. More than ever before, "July" is now a sweeping post-rock song that had pretty much the whole crowd silent. At the end, someone yelled out "that was unreal!" He wasn't wrong.

Opening for YL was atonal noisemakers Yvette, who as they usually do, played in darkness with just a white light on the floor of the stage. Good set.

More pictures below...

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