'The best live band in Britain today? There's certainly an argument for it'
Cai Trefor
18:11 6th June 2017

Does anyone remember the future? A quick glance at the current crop of shows at Rough Trade’s ultra hip East London store confirms that alternative music has hit a stage of arrested development, with early 90s luminaries like The Charlatans and Ride still somehow refusing to die and the subsequent generation offering little more in the way of innovation.

Thank God then for Young Fathers, a band that while tapping into the old and the downright ancient parts of music’s past for influences, have embarked on the avowed intention of making that melting pot sound futuristic in the extreme. They’re here to support the reissue of their first two extended EPs Tape One and Tape Two, and it’s hard to believe that this music is actually four years old. It sounds like it’s been beamed in from 2033 rather than 2013.

Eschewing the drummers and percussionists that have bolstered their live show recently, we’re treated to the trio armed only with a massive old skool ghetto blaster for backing, which spews everything from African drums to Casiotone bossonova beats, as gnarly basslines and thudding kickdrums worm their way in and out of savage filters.

But the real attraction, of course, is the combined vocal talents of Graham ‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole, twisting from harmonies sweet enough to grace The Temptations or Four Tops to spat out bars with the rough charm of Ol Dirty Bastard. Although this is in store is shorter than the average show, they race through an incredible number of hard hitting, short and sharp delights. A forceful rendition of ‘Queen Is Dead’ arrives early and brings the assembled throng to life. ‘Come To Life’ is another highlight, as is the closing song ‘I Heard’, which sees the audience singing its chorus long after the band have exited the stage.

It’s an exercise in precision performance, but one that sees none of their angry energy diminished. The best live band in Britain today? There’s certainly an argument for it.

Setlist:

DEADLINE
QUEEN IS DEAD
SISTER
COME TO LIFE
ROMANCE
FORTUNES
FREEFALLING
WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE
RUMBLING
I HEARD