A Brit in America: North England punk darling Yungblud kicks off US tour in Atlanta
Words and Photographer: Danielle Shull
Imagine stepping out of reality and into a factory-turned-music venue where everything around you is consumed by an energy so alive that even the air is dizzy with it and continuous lines of energy stream from every cell in your body, the crowd around you and out of the artist holding the mic, commanding the stage. His stage presence reads somewhere between a lion pacing an enclosure that cannot contain him, and a giddy child unable to look away from pure magic unfolding before their eyes.
Imagine that and you can begin to fathom the experience of a Yungblud show. An experience it certainly is as well, nothing short of an electric and engaging series of anthems and emotion tugged from every space inside your mind by this powerfully enigmatic artist who is unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Yungblud’s live show does not begin. It explodes.Tour has officially begun when he bursts into the small stage of the 625 person venue and engulfs us all in his intoxicating excitement. His sleek black dress, signature pink socks and sassy strut carry us into the opening track, “21st Century Liability” and the entire crowd moves with him as he paces, pausing only to strike a sassy pose every couple of lines. His energy is so intense it fills the room and the spell of his constant motion is only broken by the sweetness of his smile when he pauses for a moment to watch the crowd give back all he’s pouring into us.
Everything about Dom screams at you with a vigor that seems unreal. His vibrancy is off the charts in his physical presence, his stage performance and the mastery behind his songs. During one of his few talking breaks of the night, he shared the trials of trying to create something authentic in his early days of artistry. His commentary led into his appreciation for the unique fanbase he has cultivated, and the safe space he aims to create within it both online and at shows like this one and this message reaches even the lyrics of his tracks like “Loner”. An audience sing along with tambourine and big smiles leads us into said track, which he played for the first time to a US audience that night.
Very few points in the night were marked with a serious energy from the British rocker, but before playing “Polygraph Eyes”, he made sure the entire room connected with his message:
‘consent is mandatory, rape culture intolerable’
He stated that he would continue to speak out against it until change was made. It was a powerful moment in the set that tugged on the careful balance of the all too real story in this punk-powered track that’s as close as he comes to a ballad. Many of the messages he brings alive in his songs are a careful balance of metaphor, story and emotion and not a single element is unconsidered. Though his stage show is nothing more than him getting swept up in the energy of his art and connecting with the crowd, it is the most flawless and honest way to experience such thoughtful and unique music.
I wasn’t ready for the show to end when it did, which turned out to be a good thing since he had more tricks up his sleeve. The encore began with a surprise appearance from rumored girlfriend Halsey and together they performed their new single “11 Minutes”. The combined energy and interaction on stage for this track fueled a second wind in the crowd that had been giving 110% for the entire 70 minute set so far. Halsey followed up the performance with a short story about the tracks conception and her admiration for the special relationship Dom shares with his fanbase as well as the safe space we cultivate together. The three most energetic tracks were saved for last and every person on the floor was jumping to “Die for the Hype”, “Doctor Doctor” and “Machine Gun”.
The excitement didn’t end when the show did though, since his final surprise was an announcement that he would be at the merch stand just after the show. A quick wardrobe change and a furious frenzy ensued as Dom stood on a table and signed everything he was handed. Together we karaoked the chorus of “I love you, will you Marry me?” before he disappeared into the balmy night (ok, probably his nicely air conditioned tour bus- but whatever) and left us all in frenzied satiety after a show I won’t soon forget.
KEY SONG: YUNGBLUD, Halsey – 11 Minutes ft. Travis Barker
SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter: @yungblud / https://twitter.com/yungblud Instagram: @yungblud / https://www.instagram.com/yungblud/