They’ve gone from strength-to-strength ever since we caught them performing at a partially-full Deaf Institute about five years ago – and it’s been a pleasure to see Young Fathers rise up in such a way.
With that in mind, we just had to make sure we caught their return to Manchester for a rescheduled December date that saw them play their biggest headline show in the city so far.
This time around, it’s the stunning surroundings of the former church building, The Albert Hall – a regular topper of those ‘venue of the year’ lists that seem to bombard us as early as November.
It’s stained glass windows and huge ceilings are not always the best, sound-wise – but tonight Young Fathers’ blend of industrial production and soaring melody more than hits the spot.
They take to the stage and it doesn’t take long for the standouts from last year’s album Cocoa Sugar to be unleahsed. Lead singles ‘In My View’ and ‘Toy’ are thoroughly danceable, while maintaining the intensity that has become a trademark of theirs.
If there’s one downside to this, it’s that the odd favourite from what is still our favourite record, DEAD, have slipped out of the set – but this is something of a necessity for a band intent on constantly driving forwards. ‘GET UP’ and ‘LOW’ remain definite highlights of the night.
As we’ve come to expect, the chat is very much kept to a minimum, in favour of a punchy torrent of tunes that strikes a perfect balance between the weird and the wonderful.
Young Fathers’ three front men bound around the stage and dip into their instrumental duties with a thrilling fluidity. It looks like they may even be trying an encore for the first time, but it transpires only Kayus Bankole leaves the stage and quickly returns – before a closing salvo of ‘Shame’ ends the set in spectacular fashion.