Young Lions: East Coast Confessions Tour @ Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Young Lions captured my heart mid last year with the release of their third album, Mr Spaceman. Clearly I wasn’t the only one that fell for them, as that record has taken them around the country multiple times. They headlined the Mr Spaceman Tour, and accompanied In Hearts Wake on The Great Southern Land Tour, and also made a huge appearance at Unify Gathering earlier this year. Setting off for another headlining lap of the country, they made their second stop of the tour, pulling in at the Northcote Social Club to put on a performance that we wouldn’t soon forget.

Building up the foundations for a beautiful night of music, Lake Mountain opened the proceedings with their ambient and funky alternative music. Fronted by Tom Mitchell of Belle Haven, their soulful echoing instrumentals flowed beautifully through the room, creeping through into ears and sneakily wrapping themselves around your heart. Effective use of the keyboard and the creativity behind the guitar and bass somehow made sounds reminiscent of the beauty of a wind chime, dreamy and soft, it felt like I was being rocked peacefully to sleep after a long hard day.

The Melbourne based four piece bounced and grooved their way around the stage, encouraging similar movement from their appreciative audience. Edging towards the end of their set, Tom took a second to acknowledge the importance of asking for help if you need it, and proceeded to launched into their final song of the night. Here things went to a whole new level, as an incredibly passionate guitar section towards the end of the song caused Tom to nearly shred his instrument to pieces, breaking a string and leaving everything he had left right there on that stage. Lake Mountain made very positive impressions on many, my self included, and opened the night perfectly.

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MAEFIRE impressed immediately, introducing themselves and instilling intrigue in their intense and rocky music. Reminiscent somewhat of Panic! At The Disco, their ringing guitars and impassioned vocals shook the room, implanting the itch of movement in the mind of everyone watching. Several people indulged themselves by scratching that itch, and allowed themselves to be taken away by the music as they danced freely and enjoyed every second of what they were hearing. The incredibly talented vocalist David Scammell encouraged that; letting out several “Woo”s and clearly had a fantastic time on stage. Every other band member was the same, constantly exchanging smiles and playing off of each other as their seemingly natural charisma took over.

“This is fun”, proclaimed David with a huge grin on his face, as their popular track “Baby Please” continued to shake the crowd. Proclaiming they have an album coming out next week, he requested that we all “vibe with him” as they closed the set with one final song. MAEFIRE were genuinely awesome, and I know I’ll be checking out their new album next week.

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The final support act for the night was Bad Juju, who suffered from some slight technical difficulties that delayed their set a few minutes. After fixing that up it was all systems go, launching straight into “Run Away”. Their high energy inspired healthy enthusiasm from attendees, and their gravelly punk sound shredded through the crowd making them bang their heads and swing their hips.

The melodically raw vocals from Russell Holland were infectious, producing big reactions in tracks like “Healer” and “Rejects” as people yelled the words straight back at the band. Harshly gorgeous, their live combination of guitars bass and drums sounds as tight as it does on their EP, Hidden Desire. Bad Juju sound like nobody else, and they solidify that with their live performances more and more each time I watch them.

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Having yet to see a bad performance this evening, I was incredibly curious by what Young Lions were going to put forward. I had seen them twice and had unfortunately come out of both sets rather disappointed, and although I love their music I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be any different. Oh boy, how wrong I was to doubt them!

They entered with a huge cheer from the crowd, and as vocalist Zach Britt picked up a guitar I knew this was going to be different. “Grave Digger” got them off to a huge start, as the Brisbane four piece was greeted with a chorus of echoes, chanting their lyrics back at them as if it was a mantra. As Young Lions continued the set, they did so with great joy, huge cheeky smiles on the face of every band member, bathing in the love being poured into their performance by the crowd.

Modern rock and roll at it’s finest, Zach’s vocals rolled through the room, filling it with passion and awe at the incredible talent that he is. Looking to put more of a personal feel through this space, Zach dropped the guitar and took off into the crowd for “Message”; running around the audience and sharing the mic with everyone who wanted it. Zach would continue to change between free-roam and groundingly playing guitar throughout the whole set.

This was clearly a space where they felt truly free, playing multiple new songs and even a cover. Young Lions’ stage presence was sensational, and they had the entire room wrapped and dancing around their pinky fingers. Their guitars were constantly shredding, tearing out intense riffs and really giving their sound the edge it needed. Utilising that edge and passion as much as they could, “Destroy Me” went off in what was one of the biggest singalongs of the night, and was shortly followed by a slow and emotional one. “Blue Isla” was a spotlight on Zach’s vocals, hitting home how ridiculous this dudes voice is, and stamped a really special feel into this room. Phone lights were on, arms were swaying, and this was a beautiful moment.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the amazing atmosphere Young Lions were able to create, and “Out Of The Dark” was the peak of this. Genuine goosebumps were rippling through the crowd as the line “music can pull you out of the dark” echoed through the room, like an anthem, with everyone singing it back at Zach like it was the last thing they’d ever do. They closed the set with the duo of new track “HELP” and “Burn The Money”, and put the final exclamation point on the next chapter of Young Lions. Three albums in I still feel they have a lot left to do as a band, and with the hold they had over the crowd this evening they can do whatever they want. They gave out a lot of love, and got all of it and more back, in what was a special set and by far the best performance I have seen of Young Lions.

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[Images courtesy of Albert Lamontagne: Instagram | Get to know Albert]

Josh Hockey

Melbourne based music journalist who is ridiculously passionate about music, and spends every possible moment listening to it, seeing shows, and of course wearing the merch.

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