Youth Lagoon with Gem Club and Young Magic at T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, Massachusetts | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Young Magic, Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon with Gem Club and Young Magic at T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 18th, 2011

Nov 28, 2011 Young Magic
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It’s always the lead, and with good reason: Trevor Powers is young. Shockingly young. Barely old enough to buy a drink, not yet old enough to rent a car without significant daily surcharges. On record, he sounds young, his voice untouched by age, seemingly unsoaked by copious amounts of whiskey. Live, Powers looks even younger, the size of his Yamaha keyboard and his manner of slouching behind it to lean in closer to the mic making him seem practically child-like. His music as Youth Lagoon, however, feels as comfortable as an old sweatshirt, a comfort only reinforced by his live show.

Some bands would surely see this as an insult: Rock music should be rebellious! Your mother should hear it and want to vomit from fear and discomfort! Youth Lagoon is not meant to push people away. In fact, Powers’s well-chronicled difficulties with anxiety would suggest the opposite: He may need the music for his own comfort, and thereby lends us some as well.

Lit by two bare red lightbulbs, Powers, accompanied by a guitarist, played a relaxed and confident set of songs culled entirely from his debut, The Year of Hibernation. Live, Powers relies less on effects and more on his voice, which was up to the task. The majestic “July” built to a higher crescendo without the flattening constraints of the record, and the packed crowd responded accordingly, stomping their feet and clapping along as the song peaked. The programmed percussion of “Cannons” snapped louder and tighter, setting Powers’s keyboard melody and the clear-toned guitar at a greater remove, again making the song soar. If Powers’s popularity requires a larger venue the next time around, it will be sad to see the subtleties of a song like “The Hunt”—which was incredible in such a small space—get lost in the rafters.

Local act Gem Club played an excellent set marred a bit by muddy sound and the music from the club downstairs throwing things offbeat. Young Magic threw a lot of energy into their tribal beats, but overall felt loud and out of place. Or perhaps it was the anticipation building for Youth Lagoon that colored their performance for the audience. This wonderful night also featured the friendliest crowd in recent memory, with people stepping aside so those with obstructed views could see what was happening for themselves. People seemed to be saying, ‘You should really look at this, because this doesn’t happen often.’ Such sharing reflects a special artist, and Powers is shaping up to be just that.



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