Young Kato’s biggest tour to date stormed into town last night and took over one of Manchester’s finest venues, The Ruby Lounge, and what a night it was. Joined by Suffolk born, Stoke based singer/songwriter, Mirror Signal and Kent five piece, Propellers, the night was full of surprises.
First up was, singer/songwriter, producer and one man music wonder, Mirror Signal (aka. Steven Barker). Unfortunately I missed a chunk of his set, but from what I witnessed myself, he’s one to keep an eye out for definitely. The stage set up was just him, his keyboard and laptop, which may seem quite daunting on such a large stage, but he definitely made an impact. His electronic pop has lots of groove and soul to it, with slick, smooth beats, a captivating presence, and a soulful, honey like voice to boot, he is a truly special artist. If you like other artists like Bipolar Sunshine, James Blake and Fyfe, then most likely you’ll love Mirror Signal also. I have a good feeling about Mirror Signal, he’s one that will be appearing on a lot of 2014’s “one’s to watch” lists for sure. He’s a new artist to get excited about, there’s lots more to come from Mirror Signal and I for one, can’t wait to hear more.
Next up was Propellers, who pulled quite a crowd in, there is plenty of hype surrounding this band at the moment and deservedly so. After listening to a bit of Propellers music before the gig, I thought I wouldn’t have liked them, let alone enjoyed their set, but I was wrong. They really impressed me, what you see from Propellers live is something completely different, a band that like to interact with the crowd a lot. It helped that they had a few fans in the audience also, but that didn’t stop everyone else from joining in on the fun, they definitely got people moving with their groovy, indie guitar, synth heavy pop. They are a band with a lot of potential, with a little Arctic Monkeys swagger in their souls.
After the great supports we’d already been treated to, finally it was time for Young Kato to take to the stage. Tommy Wright, frontman of YK, opened by saying “We’re a little band called Young Kato from Cheltenham, which is a long way from here so it’s good to see so many of you turned up” later on he mentioned that the band were “two years old” that day, which made the gig even more special for that reason.
Firstly, it must be said that this band are a burst of energy and they emulate this within their live shows, with their indie pop. Expect infectious melodies, sparkling synths, big guitars, catchy hooks and soaring vocals. Their set was packed full with new tracks and fan favourites, such as Revolution, Lights (a favourite of mine), Breakout, Something Real, and many more. One of the newer tracks being a song called Yes, which is a love song that takes a slower pace than most of their other tracks do, but has bags of meaning and its heartfelt message shines through. Definitely a track to look out for in the future.
It’s clear to see that from the very first minute of a Young Kato gig that their frontman, Tommy Wright, has fire in his belly and music in his veins, he feels it and it exudes from him, partly in the way dances and moves, which always for me is a nod to Ed Macfarlane, of Friendly Fires. He has this endearing quality about him that makes it so hard to look away.
It’s hard for a band when they don’t have much material released, and a début album set for release next year, for a crowd to immediately take to new songs but for the most part everyone was feeling the new material and trying their best to sing-a-long to the catchiest bits of the choruses. I can’t dispute the fact that I wasn’t one of those people also. Young Kato are a band full of promise, they already have shown us that they have a good collection of songs that are uplifting, fun, vibrant and also at times full of meaning. They can play very well, their live shows are were they thrive and most importantly they put across good vibes and spread their love and passion for music, which is always something I like to see. Bands embracing their audiences, taking every minute in and savouring it.
The last song of the night, Drink, Dance, Play is a staple of their set, this track defines what Young Kato stand for perfectly: living carefree, being young and enjoying life to it’s fullest. The song opened to the roar of the whole room chanting “We drink, and we dance, and we dance, and we play”, as the song took flight, the crowd burst into a wave of excitement and movement, bouncing up and down, singing often shouting the song back at the band.
It was clearly the stand out moment of the gig and one that will stick with me. The power of that song is incredible, to ignite a room of complete strangers in something that’s positive and celebratory is a big feat indeed for any band, so I congratulate Young Kato on that. The song roused the crowd beyond just spectators and defied the barrier between the stage and it’s audience, making them one. It was a euphoric three and a half minutes, more than just your regular closing song, it was monumental and embraced by everyone.
It’s the simple combination of a good pop song, combined with that band and audience connection, that sparks a revelry and unified passion in the room for live music. The party vibe of the song also does help to keep energies high, and as a closer to their headline set, it really made its impact and clearly showed why Young Kato are true headliners.
Young Kato’s tour continues on throughout this week, where it culminates in Bristol. There are still a few tickets available for the remaining gigs, but I’d recommend getting your hands on them now before the gigs sell out, to avoid disappointment. With a début LP on the way next year, it is only just the beginning for this band, as they say themselves.