Youth Sector: Live At Leeds Oporto

…and to imagine I fondly thought I had something of a dedication to music. Oh, innocent sweet child.

I spent a Thursday evening to trog into town and catch a train 20 miles and back again, all to pray and say a few Hail Mary’s at the alter to rock and roll (this time at the perfectly formed Oporto Bar in Leeds).

There I spoke with the guys of Brighton based Youth Sector. In Leeds to support that wonderful Liverpool band Courting, they stayed till the end of the gig and then packed up the car to drive 6 hours or so back to Brighton. Then on Saturday they had a 10 hour round trip back to support Courting in Sheffield.

Some might still think a life in music is a romantic life of the wandering minstrel. Not a bit of it, a day job to keep the larder stocked and then a day or two’s break to drive silly miles to perform, and talk generously to rather squiffy punters (cough). I kind of felt I should actually walk home to match the effort, but, I hate waste and had already bought my train ticket. Next time. Perhaps.

It’s not so often I come in completely cold on a band and where I’ve not heard a beat. So when Youth Sector had started their set with Teeth, I did just wonder if I had inadvertently become involved with a tribute to that quirky, jerky, jaunty, funky early 80’s Talking Heads/Thomas Dalby/ Gary Numan vibe that so many post punk bands play.

To put Youth Sector into some kind of David Byrne fan club box does them a huge disservice; while there are echos of that crisp, choppy style, there’s much more than that too. A much wider style is at play here, and all the musicians have a huge contribution to the sound. Tight af as you might say.

New single, Self Exile, which was second on the set list is a very tight and bright tune. It rather has a taste of that new wave Elvis Costello style and is packed full of energy, strong beats, and a synth which draws all the components together. It feels like one of those 80’s US high school movie tunes that everyone remembers and loves. The band themselves sport the retro tashes and mullets.

In the live set, I certainly picked up heavier and classier vibes, with a feel for what I might call clever pop, XTC, and some heavier vibes too. I particularly noted the feel good energy, the intricate bass and the total power of the synth through the 5 piece.

After the gig, I spoke with the band and things strayed onto that tricky path to keep the music fresh, jaunty and not too heavy, a path which Youth Sector stride confidently along.

We spoke about a band (I won’t name, don’t worry) with a heavier vibe and how while they were wholly impressive for a track or two, it became a challenge to listen to it. Youth Sector by contrast keep it always tight, bouncing and chop it up, and it so works.

If you want a banging, lively, good and quirky time which offers something new but has a strong golden thread back to those tight 1980 art pop bands, then Youth Sector are perfect.

Chris R

* the good images are from the band’s social media, the ropy one to introduce the review and the video of the back of someone’s head is mine x


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