We had many options every night for musical entertainment here in the greater Tri-State area. Believe me, I choose wisely to see a guy sitting at a keyboard that was covered in a baja blanket.
I kid the guy. Youth Lagoon! It's the name that Trevor Powers uses on stage. With his baby face and trusted guitarist sidekick, he laid out some mellow slow jams and organ-driven melodies for the the New York faithful. I went out of curiosity to see if some of the magic on The Year of Hibernation translates do the stage. In certain extend, it does. Bowery Ballroom was the right size for his lo-fi bedroom recordings.
- The Hunt
- ENCORE: Daydream
The first thing I thought to myself when Powers entered the stage was, "I wonder if he's looking for his mommy." Indeed, the young man of 22 or 23 years of age resembles your little bother, but with better musical taste. He's a little awkward on stage, fidgeting between songs and asking about where to get good tacos. It's La Esquina all the way, my man.
Jokes about his age aside, the man has laid out an impressive, minimalist musical palate that I hope is just a small step for him. He's like a junior Panda Bear with Neil Young type vocals filtered through a toy Casio keyboard. As much as I dig his intimate songs on his debut album, they are a little on the formulaic side. He starts out with a simple organ or keyboard opening, sings a few verses then BLAMMO slams in with a heavy drum machine or amped up keyboard sound. It's consistent of much of the album. Despite, those BLAMMO moments is the great selling point of Youth Lagoon.
Tonight's show is where he should be in his career, just him, his guitarist, keyboards and drum machine. The drum machine created most of the joy and entertainment value tonight when it would break up Powers's wails and hushed vocals. There was a simplistic beauty in tunes like "Montana" and "July". The simple tones hang there for you to grab onto and embrace. "Cannons" is the song people seemed to respond to with his slowly building energy.
Sometimes, in our instant notoriety musical landscape, we expect greatness right off the bat. Not everyone can be a Strokes, Arcade Fire or Azealia Banks out the gate. Powers will be one of the artists who make a major impression 3 or 5 years now with one or two more albums in his catalogue. I'm actually more interested to see what he can build on in the future.
Dana Buoy of Akron/Family is on tour with Youth Lagoon. Like Powers, it's just him, guitars, drum machine and programmed sounds. His music is more livelier and fuller. It reminded me of High Places with the tropical and African inspired melodies. Dana's voice is actually pretty strong and fits well with his partner. they were some decent harmonies swimming through his tunes. He even performed some interpretative dance when needed. His debut album, Summer Bodies, is out now on Lefse.