Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
The Dirty Youth first caught my attention when I came across the video for “Rise Up” on Youtube back in 2012. It had me immediately hooked. The sound, the vocals, the lyrics, the attitude – I loved it all. Its punky vibe and catchy chorus embodied my preferred style of music perfectly. I was so enthralled by it, that I immediately had to search for more of their stuff to make sure this track wasn’t a fluke.
That brought me to the video for “Fight” and – guess what – it turned out “Rise Up” was most certainly not a fluke. “Fight” ended up being another awesome example of loud, fast paced guitar work with a delightfully rebellious attitude and, I dare say, even more impressive vocal work than “Rise Up.” So off I went on a quest around Dublin’s record stores to find a copy of the band’s debut album, Red Light Fix. Unfortunately, at the time it was a quest that proved unsuccessful. Thank god for iTunes!
I was pleased to discover that the rest of Red Light Fix lived up to expectations. What I found were 8 more tracks featuring the perfect balance of heavy, unrelenting riffs and melodic, flawlessly sung choruses. The Dirty Youth had well and truly won me over.
Fast forward to December 2013. A Facebook post alerted me that the Welsh rockers would be joining Glamour of the Kill as support on Heaven’s Basement’s European tour. So I anxiously checked the dates on The Dirty Youth’s Facebook page, hoping to find an Irish gig and yep, there it was; a show in Dublin’s Voodoo Lounge set for March 2014. Oh yes! To be honest, I wasn’t particularly familiar with Glamour of the Kill or Heaven’s Basement, but that didn’t matter. I was pumped to finally be getting the chance to see The Dirty Youth live.
The Dublin date was on Friday, March 21st. The Dirty Youth were set to be the first of the three bands to take the stage. As it turned out, Heaven’s Basement were unable to play on the day due to illness, but considering that I was going solely for The Dirty Youth anyway, it had no bearing on my anticipation for the gig. It actually meant that the show was free as a result. Couldn’t complain about that!
When you go to see one of your favourite bands for the first time, there’s always the concern that they won’t sound as good as they do when you’re listening to their studio work. I’ve been to gigs where they do, I’ve been to gigs where they don’t. Thankfully, I can confirm that The Dirty Youth fall very much into the former category.
As they took to the stage, wasting no time unleashing the full extent of their music’s energetic style, my first thought was, “Wow. These guys are unreal live!” The quality of their performance was easily as good as what you hear on their album, if not better. The instrumentation work of the four guys in the band was masterful and vocalist Danni Monroe’s voice was absolutely stunning live.
The first real treat for me was their performance of new single, “Alive.” This song is truly epic. If you haven’t heard it yet, do yourself a favour and check the video out on Youtube ASAP. Since its digital release, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve blasted it out and I’ve yet to get sick of it. The whole feel of the song is extremely grand in scale and witnessing it live was spectacular. The band gave it their all during its performance and they really seemed to be into it while doing so, which was great to see. “Alive” may well represent The Dirty Youth’s best work to date and has me very excited for their forthcoming album, Gold Dust.
The next highlight of the set for me was sing along anthem, “Requiem of the Drunk.” This is a song that allows the band to showcase their skills at both their finest and heaviest. It’s also a song that’s tailor made for singing to a crowd live, with its infectious chant of “la la la la la la let’s get drunk!” In years to come, I can imagine “Requiem of the Drunk” being remembered as a definitive Dirty Youth anthem. It was an absolute blast to hear live and the set would have felt somehow incomplete without it.
But I think my favourite performance of the show was the track that rounded the set out – “Fight.” As the band’s first ever single, I’m sure they could perform “Fight” in their sleep at this stage, but they show no signs of boredom or fatigue while playing it. It maintains the same loud, in your face, vigorous spirit live as it has on Red Light Fix. The “I lose control” lyric in the middle allows Danni to demonstrate the full extent of her vocal talent by holding the final note of the word “control” for what seems like an eternity – to say it’s impressive would be an understatement. It was a wonderfully fitting way to cap off their performance. All in all, “Fight” hammered home that The Dirty Youth are a band whose talents and enthusiasm are feats that need to be witnessed live to be fully appreciated.
As great as the set was though, the biggest thrill for me came afterwards when I actually got to meet the band and, I’ve got to say, they are lovely people! I managed to catch Danni just after their set ended and she was kind enough to pose for a photo with me.
That alone more than made my night, but I was actually lucky enough to get to chat further with them all soon afterwards. I spotted guitarist, Matt Bond, and bassist, Leon Watkins, as they were packing up some of their equipment and took the opportunity to tell them how much I enjoyed their set. They were both very friendly as well, which was great.
I was also finally able to get my hands on that elusive hardcopy of Red Light Fix at the band’s merch stand, after which I was delighted to get to talk with them more.
Danni, Leon and drummer, Phil Edwards, arrived down to the merch stand, where the three of them took a photo with me and signed the album, which I was very happy about. Not long later, Matt returned to add his name to the CD and retrieved fellow guitarist, Luke Padfield, who completed the set of signatures. Then I was thrilled to be able to get a photo with the whole band.
Given the relatively small size of the Voodoo Lounge, the possibility of maybe meeting one of them had crossed my mind going in. But never did I expect the amount of face time they afforded me. It was awesome.
I really can’t say enough good things about these guys both as performers and as people. They’re five very accommodating, friendly, down to earth individuals who are clearly genuinely appreciative of their fans. As a live act, they sounded amazing and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that their talents and musical skills are just as remarkable in real life. I can’t wait for the opportunity to catch one of their shows again and will be first in line to pick up a copy of the long awaited second album, Gold Dust, upon its release.
So to the fans who haven’t witnessed them live yet, do yourself a favour and rectify that situation as soon as you can. And to anyone unfamiliar with The Dirty Youth, I advise you to check them out immediately. It’s time for all of you to rise up and join the revolution!
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