Young Fathers @ Electric Brixton, London – 26th November

Young Fathers  know how to put on a perfectly imperfect show. With their verbacious rapping and sparkling harmonies, they’ve found the perfect way to translate their ferociously fractured music to a live environment.

Taking to the stage obstreperously, the Scottish trio (joined by a live drummer) immediately opened their set with the blistering ‘No Way’. Working as one hell of an introduction to many, their undeniable energy soon captured the attention of the audience, refusing to let go. Opening for Run the Jewels, it seems hard to make connections between their music and that of Killer Mike and El-P. But, having said that, there’s an intense sense of chemistry and passion bubbling at the surface of both acts.

Accompanied by dizzying bass, chubby synths and thunderous percussion, Young Fathers’ music threatened to tear down the walls of Electric Brixton. The sense that their music is close to combusting is exactly what makes it so exciting. Their loud with a purpose, choosing to use their abrasive qualities to spread a message, however obtuse that message may be.

With a set mostly comprising of material from the two EPs they’ve released through Anticon, the surprises mostly came in the form of their performance, rather than its content. They did perform a few cuts off the upcoming ‘DEAD’, but they mostly stuck to familiar material. It hardly matters though, when what they did present was so captivating. Gorgeous melodies sticking out amongst trembling dread, made all the more intense by intimidating stares and faux-violence between the members. Pressing up against each other as to ward one another off, their onstage presence matched the foreboding qualities of their music perfectly.

However, the true brilliance in their performance was how they tread the line between a fantastic recreation of their records, and injecting it with a new sense of life. The sounds breathe louder, without abandoning what made them so interesting to begin with. Impassioned expulsions of words a plenty, Young Fathers’ shows aren’t for the faint of heart, but if this was any indication, they’re far and away some of the most intriguing, and rewarding shows in hip-hop.

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Words by Joe Price

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