It’s been a long two and a half years since The Young Hearts graced the stage with their nostalgic punk rock tones. In that time a lot has happened to the band including the release of their debut album The Modern State (you can read our review here) and more recently they announced the departure of Aaron and AJ their guitarist and drummers respectively. The Young Hearts have set about to put this right with an intimate show at the locally renowned The Lighthouse which sits nestled along the seafront of their hometown. Lined up with support from Killing Giants and Moron Butler, and a sell-out crowd to support them, did The Young Hearts deliver on their return?
To get the home crowd warmed up was Killing Giants. They offered a relentless set in the modern British rock tradition to a surprisingly full crowd for an opening band at a local show. This could partly be down to the band’s quality. They played a tight set with strong lead vocals and plenty of interesting dynamics to their set to keep tonight’s appreciative crowd intrigued. The band did use some triple harmonies and swapped lead vocals occasionally, this was probably the weaker part of their set. However, this was mostly due to the strength in Killing Giants lead vocalist. Switching away from him felt a little jarring as a lot of the drive of their sound is in his rugged and powerful tone, but letting him loose away from the mic did allow him to add some great stage presence for a band that were already exciting to watch. Great opener – 4/5.
Next up to support were Moron Butler who are probably a bit of an obscure choice on this line up. They were described as drone, post-punk and poetry and that’s pretty much it! This is the second time I’ve seen Moron Butler and like before it seemed to divide the crowd, however this time most people stuck at it and there was an element of interest in what they were offering. Personally, I like it. The whole thing is held up by singer Troy who, demands attention without explicitly asking for it, and holds the stage on his own. The rest of the band do feel like his backing band, lacking some presence but it’s the poetic spoken lyrics that pull you in to listen further. It reminds me of some of ‘At the Drive In’s’ earlier work. I think Moron Butler’s live presence relies a lot the element of surprise as their set was more enjoyable first-time round, but it was still great to see again. 3/5.
The Young Hearts
Now time for the main event. The Young Hearts have already achieved a dream of many by selling out a home town show and they did not disappoint this energetic crowd. It didn’t feel like a ‘local scene’ show.
The Young Hearts haven’t had a chance to promote their album, but tonight those tracks sounded big. Craig’s vocals sounded well-polished as he always does and the band look like they had been playing together for years, despite a 50% member change. The new line-up has slotted in place and bring some great presence on stage.
The band were clearly enjoying themselves and this filtered back into the crowd who only got more involved as the set went on. There was a nice flow to the set, which only took breaks to change tuning and didn’t allow for the crowd to lose their energy. The addition of a couple of covers to the set was a welcome treat and were played as if their own. We also got to sample a couple of new tracks as a taster of what’s to come, and it’s more of the same well craft tracks you would expect from The Young Hearts.
But it was the singles such as ‘London’ and ‘Old Familiar’ which stood out. Ever catchy and had everyone jumping around this cosy venue. As vocalist Craig put it, this crowd made them feel like rockstars and The Young Hearts duly delivered up a set worthy of it, even being called back for an encore and a chance to cover The Killers‘ ‘When You Were Young’. Vocalist Craig sounding every bit as good as Brandon Flowers. It’s a welcome return and you should get out to see them when they inevitably head out on the road. 5/5.
Wild & Reckless (Extended Intro)
The Way Back
The Modern State
Left Of The Dial (Replacements Cover)
Don’t Tell A Soul
When You Were Young (The Killers Cover)
* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.