Rock N Roll as it should be: The Young, Live at Cafe Gusto
It was the passage between a small cafe and a large chain restaurant that we had the pleasure of seeing The Young perform their first gig back since Covid.
Literally a pocket of space that has the architectural purpose of people traversing from one place to another was the venue that hosted us tonight. And, in many ways, this geographic quirk perfectly encapsulates what is so special about The Young. When you see them perform, talk to them and hear the way they have to say what they do, you realise that this is pure musical passion spurting from the relative unknown in an way that is un-ignorable. So here we were, in a perfectly ordinary, unknown alleyway, watching undiluted talent and passion rip from the seams. And let me tell you, people walking past definitely could not ignore it.
The Young are a four piece band hailing from Staines, Surrey, Comprised of Alfie Bourne, Tom Weir, George Bourne and Josh Poke. These local favourites create a sound of Rock and Roll that is at the same time fresh and unique as it is classic and recognisable. Their sound is so raw, but packaged quite beautifully - baked even - into that rock and roll surrounding noise that wouldn't be misplaced in a playlist headlined by the true greats of the genre. It's because of this that we couldn't help but see the contrast between the name of the band and the demonstrable maturity that makes up elements of their music. This band manages to create a dynamic of musical presence that bifurcates into a place of pure youth and seasoned maturity at the same time.
What was special about the gig too was the connection between the band and the crowd. We've been lucky to have seen The Young a handful of times before this and at every one of those junctures we've seen their ability to first of all charm, and then strike up a powerful relationship with the people that are watching them. And the process of this happening includes something that ignites a spirit of youth, rebellion and expression in the, now at this point utterly loyal, audience that few others truly can in their crowds. The connection between The Young and their audience - every time - is profound.
Photo used with permission. Copyright Steve Ringham 2021
This, and so much else about the gig, was down to it's moments. Those little snippets you can't help but remember. Whether it was Tom delivering out of nowhere a masterfully done guitar solo, his back physically in the crowd so as to be jamming with the people watching him, or Alfie hanging off of lamp posts singing in infectiously raucous ways, or even the audience descending to the floor ready to jump up at choruses. It was all of these moments that took the gig into the heights of something special, all the while people occasionally passing by in effort to get on with their nights.
We wonder what those passers-by would've thought when catching the gig fleetingly, because the story of the performance was growth and catching a couple of seconds of the gig wouldn't have done this justice. It is true to say that at the beginning, following a largely forgettable warm up act, things could've been considered a bit slow. The show was waiting to find it's feet, possibly too loudly. But as well as those moments aforementioned, there were strokes of musical moments too that served as turning points - and a beautifully crafted set list is largely to thank for this. Injecting nicely played covers of relative crowd-pleasers (not losing the sounds of The Young, mind) and building up to their most well known hits was clever, and massively paid off. We saw a gig grow from a crowd waiting to be put to life to it taking form into a fully alive and breathing cohesion that developed and grew even more so as every song went on.
It was pleasing to see that The Young haven't waned as a casualty of lockdown. It's very possible, in fact, that it was because of the pandemic especially that getting to be part of a musical explosion of passion, expression and talent in it's little pocket, seemingly separate from the rest of the world, was all the more special. We're looking forward to seeing them again soon, and we honestly couldn't care less what kind of alleyway we find ourselves in next.