Keane and Youngblood Hawke together on one stage. One band delivers the best album of 2012, and another is poised to launch their debut album in 2013 alongside a cornucopia of buzz. Both bands are critics’ darlings and serenaded a sold-out crowd at the Warfield Theatre here in San Francisco last Friday.
Youngblood Hawke are one of those bands whose sound you really can’t pinpoint in a review. You really have to see these guys (and a girl) live to understand the genius behind them. Their anthemic song “We Come Running” seems to be the song that you really can’t get away from recently, but then again who would want to. The gang-style (not to be confused with the worst trend of 2012, “Gangnam Style”) vocals are a throwback to Def Leppard’s hey day, while their music is a wall of sound built upon one part fun., one part Passion Pit, and two parts Freelance Whales.
Their debut EP that was released last year should scare the shit out of all the other bands that are currently clamoring for the spotlight in this mixed-up genre. If these four songs are any indication of their full-length, then I see the superstar band of 2013 shining bright early on in the year.
What can I say about Keane that I have not said before? In my opinion, this is the best-sounding band touring the world right now, with the absolute best songwriting of the decade. 2012’s Strangeland is by far the best record of the year, and anyone who has not heard this masterpiece of an album needs to buy it immediately.
Tom Chaplin is just a masterful performer. His voice is simply stunning, and he hits the most incredible notes with ease every single time. Like all brilliant musicians, he’s had his drug problems, but Tom kicked the habit and came out on top. There is a certain chemistry on stage with his fellow bandmates that truly shines through on tracks such as “Disconnected” (which also claims the title for best video of 2012), “Sovereign Light Cafe” (my absolute favorite track of 2012), and the Keane classics “Somewhere Only We Know” and “Nothing in My Way.”
When you are at a Keane concert you very quickly learn how many amazing songs the band has in their catalog and how many are instantly recognizable. Tom and company treated the standing-room-only crowd to 22 songs that evening. How many bands do that anymore? Better yet, how many fans would even stay to hear that many songs? I can tell you that the place was jam-packed to the very last note, and it was absolutely brilliant. Here’s to Keane becoming the biggest band in the world in 2013 (and taking over for Coldplay because I think everyone is bored to death with them).
Were you at the show? We would love to hear your comments on both bands. Please join the conversation in the comment section below.