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Young Fathers in La Belle Angele Edinburgh

Edinburgh trio bring their Heavy Heavy soul/electro/hip hop brew to the instore gig. Julia Mason was there.


Who: Young Fathers

Where: Edinburgh La Belle Angele

When: February 10 2023

The rise of the instore event is a win-win-win. For the artists it's another promotion opportunity, for the fans it's a chance to see their favourite artists up close and personal, and for the, usually, independent record store and venues its another income stream. Assai Records in Edinburgh has had a top class run of instore events including Yard Act, Sports Team, The Academic, SYML and Humour but in addition they have also arranged outstore events for more popular artists in larger venues. These have included Maximo Park at the Liquid Rooms and Fontaines D.C. at SWG3 in Glasgow.

However Edinburgh's own Young Fathers at La Belle Angele had the promise of something special. Five years since the release of their previous album Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers have released its follow-up the exhilarating Heavy Heavy and it's this they were promoting tonight.

Young Fathers gig La Belle Angele Edinburgh
All photo credits Julia Mason

The venue opened at 7pm with a stage time of 8pm, however there was a queue formed even before the doors opened. I go to a lot of gigs, but once in a while a night comes along when you can feel the excitement in the room. The anticipation of the capacity crowd was almost tangible. The atmosphere was electrifying and as the time ticked down towards 8pm this only grew. As the lights finally dimmed and the trio of Graham ‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole strolled onstage, the room erupted.

What followed was a performance I will never forget. Almost an hour of the most joyous music, performed by a band whose stage craft looked effortless but herein lies their genius. The highlights were, well actually that's a tricky one as the whole set flowed. No song introductions, no chat with the crowd, but not one single person in that room cared such was the performance.

If pushed I have to say the emotional power of Geronimo, the super danceable Holy Moly and the fabulously fast and furious Sink or Swim were utterly thrilling with the latter having the most glorious fadeout vocals. Young Fathers move around the stage and yet never bump into each other. Their presence is commanding. Staring into the crowd. They seem to be in complete sync with ever other. I did spot a slight grin at one point in response to some chanting from the crowd. They move towards each other and then apart, seemingly having such a connection between them that it all looked organic and natural.

The lighting in La Belle Angele is a pure joy for artists and the crowd and tonight it illuminated this extraordinary band perfectly. I also have to mention Edinburgh singer-songwriter Callum Easter who joined Young Fathers onstage playing guitar and keyboards. He slotted right into the whole set, and his understated presence gave the music the attention to detail it deserved.

And then it was over. The room had of course been bouncing and you know you've had a good night when you're desperate for it to continue. The crowd headed outside, breathless with what they had just experienced. Thank you Young Fathers and thank you Assai Records. Long may the instores continue.


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