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Young Fathers have just announced their biggest Scottish headline show to date!

Young Fathers have just announced their biggest Scottish headline show to date!

Young Fathers, Royal Albert Hall, London ***** [five stars] – Craig McLean 

At London’s Royal Albert Hall it’s Friday night, and the fifth show, of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s annual week-long series of gigs. Over consecutive evenings, many of organiser Roger Daltrey’s old pals are rocking up to rock out to raise funds and awareness for the charity.  


Young Fathers stride onto the stage, the core Edinburgh trio of Kayus Bankole, Graham “G” Hastings and Alloysious Massaquoi flanked by a backing singer, instrument-hopping guitarist and keyboard player, free-standing drummer swinging at his skins like a jackhammer, and the multi-lunged wonder of Manchester’s all-female NIA community choir.  


Even before they’ve begun, then, Young Fathers are presenting something truly special onstage.  


For the next 70 minutes, the Mercury Prize-winning band don’t let up, a feast for eyes, ears, brain and feet. By only the third song they have the mostly seated RAH entirely up and dancing, with the rushing, powerful Get Up bringing the revolutionary party. On Wow, hammering electronic beats are amplified by Massaquoi beating at a snare-drum he pulls on and offstage throughout the set.  


The percussive, infectious rhythms keep coming. Rain Or Shine throbs with an insistent, Motorik synth pound and air-raid-siren guitar, the choir rising above the music with rolling waves of vocal power. For Old Rock n Roll all four singers cluster centre-stage, flailing limbs and firing voices in multiple thrilling generations. On I Heard, Massaquoi’s soulful vocals float over churchy organ and Eighties dance beats.  


All of which is to say: Young Fathers aren’t like any other live band. Blessed by multiple voices, an eye-popping approach to performance and a four-album-and-two-mixtape-deep catalogue, the radical Afro-Scottish hip-hop group are true game-changers, tearing up the rulebook for what live music can be.  


Only David Byrne’s acclaimed American Utopia tour, where the musicians roamed free and untethered across the stage, comes close to a show that is as sensual as it’s cerebral, intense as it’s loose, artful as it’s sweaty.  


By the time we get to the closing run of tracks, the stage is a surging mass of arms and legs. Geronimo, glorious on last year’s acclaimed Heavy, Heavy album, grows wings courtesy of an exultant, beatific contribution from the choir. Shameis a euphoric, bouncing singalong. I Saw is multi-genre jamboree, the black-clad NIA women raising the RAH’s distant, 41-metre high roof with their massed vocals, their specialism in soul, R&B, blues and gospel the perfect amplification for this revelational band and their revolutionary show.  


Teeming with ideas, with influences from every corner of the musical – and actual – world, the most exciting thing is wondering what Young Fathers will do next on stage.  


Young Fathers have just announced their biggest Scottish headline show to date as part of an exciting day festival curated by themselves on Saturday 29th June 2024 at Stirling City Park with a jam-packed supporting lineup of special guests still to be announced.  

Tickets go on sale from 9am on Wednesday 27th March, or you can access the Gigs in Scotland presale from 9am on Tuesday 26th March by logging in to your Gigs in Scotland account.