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Youngblood Hawke at Make Music Pasadena, Saturday June 1st 2013

 

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Youngblood Hawk

The first time I saw Youngblood Hawke, a little more than one year ago, they were playing their residency at the Satellite, but the small club was already sold out. They managed to install such a mad house in just a few minutes, that I knew the only way to go for them would be up and up. When they played ‘We Come Running’, I knew they had a hit, but the amazing thing was that they had several songs like this one!

And in less time than it takes to say ‘Wake Up’ – the title of their recently-released debut album – Universal Republic Records contacted them and offered them a deal, and last Saturday, they were headlining Make Music Pasadena in front of a sea of people! The free music festival always drains a large crowd and launches summer time, and Youngblood Hawke’s music was the perfect soundtrack for these carefree happy times.

Their effervescent electro-pop was marvelously working on the crowd as the sextet had visibly a lot of fun in their hometown, and they managed to brighten the atmosphere already extremely sunny, with a set of 10 uplifting songs. Youngblood Hawke on stage is a really enjoyable spectacle, they constantly deploy a non-stop energy bounce at each corner of the stage, play four drums at the same time, and jump all over the place, especially keyboardist-vocalist Sam Martin, who looks a little bit like a young David Lee Roth. Most of their songs are asking for this chaotic behavior, since they scream youth and exuberance, and each one is more anthemic than the next one – with few exceptions.

The members of the band sing altogether and the chorale effect produced – they even used the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir on their album – is as a big part of their sound as its explosive and colorful nature. They sure have a knack for writing mega hooks, as all their songs have some, and their propulsive synth-pop held the crowd on a clapping-singing-jumping, even (an attempt) crowd surfing state of mind, while emphasizing on this joyful youthful feeling synonymous of their moniker. Their shimmering ooooohs, heeeeys and haaaaas had a trampoline effect, bringing their songs higher and higher, and they end up their long set of maximalist pop  with a massive and destructive all-members drumming action. They are much catchier than Phoenix, much more dynamic on stage than Coldplay,… I know these two bands are huge, but Youngblood Hawke could well reach this level of fame if they manage to not make their audience overdose on sunshine and happiness.

Setlist

Rootless
Danny Boy
In Our Blood
Dreams
Stars (Hold On)
Last Time
Protect Yourself
We Come Running
Forever
Glacier

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