TVD Live: Young Fathers at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 4/12

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Young Fathers have been called a lot of things, Krautrock, experimental—whatever it is, it’s the best of politically aware spoken word and hip-hop that will make you dance. After winning the Mercury Award for their debut LP Dead, they came back with the controversially titled White Men are Black Men Too.

Sunday night Steve Morrison took the stage like a conductor, mostly unnoticed by the crowd before he stoically struck the drums. Someone let out a shriek and all eyes turned as the rest of the band joined him on stage for the familiar “No Way.” They carried the crowd’s energy into “Queen is Dead” off their “Tape Two” EP.

Live, each young father’s role within the band is clearly defined in a way that’s difficult to infer from a recording. Even in today’s saturated world of electronic music, it’s usually clear that someone is pushing the buttons while someone else is singing, but Young Fathers has three very distinct voices complementing each other. While G adds dimension with his low howls, Kayus brings the energy as he moves about the stage, Alloysious is the steady harmony bringing it together.

“Feasting” was the first song they played from their new album. They didn’t introduce new songs with any pomp, and they didn’t address the crowd. They didn’t even address each other. Each song melted smoothly into the next as they navigated between old and new material and steadily ramped up the pace.

“Get Up” got the crowd moving, while “John Doe” kept them steady, even the uncertain pocket dancers couldn’t help but move their feet.

Alloysious took to a single drum while Steve brought in “Old Rock’n’Roll,” where the album’s title White Men are Black Men Too was spoken between electric twangs.

I was expecting “Shame” to come at the end of an encore, but it wasn’t the end of their set, and there would be no encore. Their most recent single was the dance number every cunt jerk in the audience was holding onto and is sure to send them skyrocketing stateside in no time. (Get on their mailing list now, because when they headline the 9:30, you will want to be there.)

They returned to their roots with “Rumbling” from their first EP “Tape One,” and the room got still. That stillness turned into reverence during “I Heard.”

One by one they left the stage as the static took over.

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