Youth Lagoon storms Crescent Ballroom with pop/rock magic

If you want to slip and slide through a mosh of sweaty kids in a desperate attempt to bang your head, this is not the concert to do it at. Instead, Youth Lagoon takes you on a trip to another dimension filled with dreamy pop/rock, strobes and rhythmic waves.

The night opened with Pure X, a band that calls Austin, Texas, home.

Although most of the audience was in for a bittersweet pop sound, Pure X delivered something a little more Beach Fossils meets MGMT. Guitarist and vocalist Nate Grace looked as if he was attempting to unleash his inner Jimi Hendrix, but instead he looked more like a drugged out Steven Tyler.

Once Pure X started getting into its setlist, the crowd’s heads bobbed in solidarity as bassist Jesse Jenkins sang in a shrill but pretty voice.

Although it was clear that Pure X was going for a distorted guitar, relaxed vocal sound that it achieved off its album, “Crawling Up The Stairs,” the band really reminded me of a bunch of high school freshmen boys with guitars and intricate electronics. It looked to me like they were mostly touching random buttons and didn’t really know what they were doing.

The performance was entertaining, but the only thing Pure X said to the audience was, “Thank you” after their first and last songs. Not that the lack of acknowledgement was a big concern for me, but I definitely wouldn’t need to go see Pure X again.

I would, however, possibly add the band’s music to a “confusing pop/rock” playlist.

The real show started when lead singer and keyboardist of Youth Lagoon, Trevor Powers, casually bounced onto the stage with a head full of gorgeous hair and all of his hairily abundant band members.

Now, Youth Lagoon is the type of band that has two different sounds: the recorded track and the live version. For instance, in the song “Pelican Man,” the recorded track sounds more like a dreamy circus song. However, the live version goes into a full rock ballad with a strong beat and lots of guitar. Put the two sounds together, and you get a full performance of electronic rhythms and smooth, pop sounds that are unique to only Youth Lagoon.

“Bacon is the only longevity in life,” Powers said to the crowd.

Not that anyone knows or cares what that means, but at least he acknowledged us, right? All I need from a concert is to hear good music and some pointless statement from the artist that they feel is necessary to share.

Powers provided this by saying, “Don’t believe everything you hear. When someone tells you something, Google it. For real. But believe what I tell you because it’s right, OK?”

When Youth Lagoon finally played its hit track, “17,” the crowd went crazy. I had never sat down and actually listened to the lyrics, but when Powers sang it so clearly over the microphone, I realized just how good this song is.

Youth Lagoon’s setlist consisted mostly of its latest album release, “Wondrous Bughouse.” The album, though I didn’t think was quite as good as their first, “The Year of Hibernation,” sounded great performed live.

Once Lagoon left the stage, we all waited for the encore. Sure enough, after the audience clapped consistently and yelled “one more” and “encore” over and over, Youth Lagoon returned and finished with “The Hunt.”

Overall, the performance was almost exactly what I expected. Youth Lagoon created a fun, rhythmic sound that made you unafraid to sway your body around a bit. Pure X, while not quite on par with Youth Lagoon (but still pretty good), opened up an evening that bloomed into a psychedelic dream.

Clap for me, everybody clap for me,” Powers said, to which everyone happily clapped.

I’d like to see a person stay sad at a concert like that.

 

Reach the reporter at katherine.faller@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @katiefaller