Youngr was first brought to our attention through a a video on Facebook; a simple sponsored post showing Dario Darnell performing a live bootleg of Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’ at a festival. Surrounded by an array of instruments he slowly built the track up, layer by layer, to a soaring crescendo. That’s all it took to capture our interest so much that we went down to Oslo in Hackney on a Thursday night to check him out.
As Youngr walked onto the stage to a rapturous applause and began his set, it soon became apparent why he chose to promote himself using a song that wasn’t his. Music is entirely subjective, but his songs aren’t anything I’d be rushing to subject myself to again any time soon. It isn’t that they’re inherently bad, there’s just nothing that makes them stand out. There’s no problem with following the generic formula for a pop song if you can pull it off well, but with Youngr, it fell short. He’s followed the recipe to the letter, but the result is bland.
However, credit must be given where it’s due, playing every instrument on a track and piecing it together with loops is no easy task. It requires strong musical ability across a number of instruments and a lot of practise, but this skill was only utilised for a few songs during the set. Youngr spent most of the performance accompanied by a drummer and a guitarist, taking away the one thing that had appealed to us in the first place. There were also times where none of the three musicians were playing, and everything was coming from clips loaded into Ableton on a laptop.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal taste. Maybe I just don’t get it. Some people seemed to absolutely love it, filming the performance on their phones and jumping around, but others seemed less impressed and spent the show checking Twitter and replying to Tinder messages.
Since the show, Youngr has posted a live video from the night (see below) which makes it look fantastic thanks to the power of studio recordings and video editing. Half way through the video, the editing stops and the audio cuts to the live performance, and it suddenly feels like a much more amateur production. The moral of this story is don’t believe everything you see on the internet.
Photos by Dan Hess.