Live Review: whenyoung - Gorilla, Manchester 01/10/2019

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Indie Irish trio whenyoung returned to Manchester on Tuesday night for a stunningly intimate performance at Gorilla. Only the second date into their extensive UK tour, the band treated their audience to an exciting set full of tracks from their debut album, ‘Reasons to Dream’.

Manchester’s own Abbie Ozzard opened the night, entertaining the crowd with her most popular songs such as the infectious ‘Heartbreak Radio’. Taking center stage in a long, lime green dress, the spotlight was on Ozzard as she wowed the audience with her vocal performance.

Whenyoung soon appeared onstage began their set with ‘Pretty Pure’, with frontwoman Aoife Power bouncing around on stage to match her dancing crowd. The show was made so special due to the lack of a barrier, allowing the band to truly engage with their fans and provide a much more intimate experience. Power took great advantage of this, bending and leaning down into the crowd to sing with those on front row. The dancing never ceased as ‘In My Dreams’ came next, a track which really places focus on Aoife Power’s lovely Irish accent shining through her vocal performance. 

The show continued on with ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘Blank Walls’, and it must also be mentioned that guitarist Niall Burns constantly came to the front of the stage for the guitar-heavy riffs to engage further with their fans. Power introduced ‘Future’ as a sad song, dedicating to a friend that the band had lost, which brought the atmosphere of the gig to a more emotional one. The lighting of the show was just as good as the vocal performance, as the band were lit up by a soft, yellow spotlight for the slower and ever beautiful ‘Sleeper’. 

Other tracks on the set list included ‘A Labour of Love’, ‘You’re Grand’ and ‘The Others’. For ‘The Others’, the band asked the crowd ‘We heard you like a chant Manchester?’ and asked their fans to help them with the song. Interestingly, the meaning behind ‘The Others’ is about the aftermath Grenfell Tower fire and the juxtaposition of poverty and luxury in the area, which one could take from the lyrics ‘That’s how the others died, and that’s how they’ll die again’. It shows that Whenyoung don’t just make great music, but they also wish to spread a positive message and bring light to issues of importance. 

Ending on ‘Never Let Go’, the crowd went absolutely wild for this last track, due to its powerful performance matched with Aoife Power’s even more powerful vocals. It is truly one of those tracks that sounds even more incredible live, as their fans took to each other’s shoulders to bounce around one last time. 

Whenyoung really know how to put on a show, even in such a small venue, making them one of the most exciting and upcoming bands of the moment. Catch them on the rest of their UK tour this autumn. 

Words and Photography by Jess Foster

WTHB OnlineLive