Review: Youth Man @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

Think of Easter and what do you imagine? Chocolate eggs? Fluffy bunnies? How about sequins, streamers, and shots? At The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham, the local Bad Girls collective celebrated the occasion with a showcase of female empowerment, featuring some of the city’s most formidable talents, all in aid of LGBT+ charity Stonewall.

Balloons hang from the ceiling, a shimmering foil curtain adorns the stage wall, and glitter sparkles on the floor. This is a setting purpose built for a party – and that’s exactly what the audience are treated to. “I love this town,” Youth Man bassist Miles Cocker proclaims mid set, rallying the crowd in their support for the cause, the performers, and each other. There’s never been more to be proud of.

Making her debut performance with the help of members of local favourites Bad Girlfriend on backing duties, Kristina Grigaite takes punk rock into overdrive with larger than life vocal melodies and addictively distorted refrains. Performing a cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, Apathy’s Alex Thompson casts a spell it’s impossible to pull away from.

The best new band you might never see (having stated previously that the show tonight would be a one time thing), Sofa King’s deliciously woozy indie pop is an all-encompassing venture of the most thrilling kind. Hazy, nostalgic, and downright fantastic, the group laugh, joke, and flirt their way through a set of songs all vying to be your new favourite. Coupling soulful vocals with rich psych refrains, Byron Hare are a force to be reckoned with that leave the whole venue in awe.

Drawing the night to a close in an explosion of brutal riffs and rapid high kicks, Youth Man reign supreme. The trio power through long time favourites and brand new numbers in rapid succession, from ‘Heavy Rain’ through ‘Fat Dead Elvis’ to songs that don’t even have a name yet. The three-piece’s energy is matched by the motion of those nearest the stage, rocking and moshing their way through every song with a tireless fervour.

Shouting out the promoters, performers, and everyone involved in the night as they roll around the stage and dive into the crowd, Youth Man’s frenzied showcase ignites a freewheeling sense of fun for everyone gathered. Their performance is effortless, Kaila Whyte leading the room through a raucous rebellion with the upmost dexterity.

As the festivities continue into the early morning (good job it’s a bank holiday, really), the sense of celebration refuses to cease. Drawing some of Birmingham’s brightest talents together in solidarity, the night lights up the city with a fresh excitement. With bands like these what more could you need?

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