Words by: Hannah Lawrance
There is sound and there is music. There are songs about ‘big-booty-bitches’ and there are songs with stories behind them. There are songs orchestrated with dollar signs in the eyes and there are songs authored amongst the walls of a hospital waiting room.
Meet truth, humility, life, death. Meet Jung Kim, David (motherfucking) Le’aupepe, Joji Malani and Max Dunn. AKA Gang of Youths.
Meet a band whose name is reminiscent of bleak violence but whose songs reap emotion.
The Sydney band had no problem selling out their Perth show at Capitol and watching them perform live proved why. Their energy was contagious and their music was blaring. Up the front you could see the emotion, the sweat, and the prosperity in their faces. You could feel it in their music. They put on one hell of a performance; one that connected everyone and everything.
This music so powerful you’d think there was a story behind it. And there is. But not quite the fairy tale their melodies suggest. Opposing their soft inflection (which is more supple than the band’s name suggests) are lyrics filled with melancholy heartbreak which in turn are obscured by Le’aupepe’s raspy, harmonious voice. If you listen, only if you listen you understand.
The lead singer and songwriter, Le’aupepe, is only 23 but appears to lead a mysteriously brooding life. Themes that range from suicide attempts, divorce, cancer, alcoholism, and mixed fate inherently lead to the success of album The Positions. The frankness of the band has undoubtedly been one of the reasons for their success, their sold out shows across the country, and band’s now heartthrob status.
The show at Capitol was energetic yet also intimate. It was whimsical yet familiar. It was a night that grasped the meaning of music with a crowd that hung off every note. It was one of those nights that you want to put in your jeans pocket and then never wash those pants again. A night you want to savour with every click of the flash.