The Dirty Youth with Empire and I Divide, 16th October, Islington Academy London
Review and Photography by Graham Hilling
The Dirty Youth roll into London on their first headlining tour of the UK…how did they do?
This gig was moved from the Garage to the smaller Islington Academy Bar, I guess because of poor ticket sales so it is no surprise that when I arrive at the venue it is pretty sparsely populated. The first band on are Empire from South West England and a bit of a surprise!
Every once in a while you catch something which is unexpected and really makes you sit up and take notice, this evening Empire did this for me.
They are a 5 piece standard rock band band but have so much energy that the tiny stage could barely contain them. Sounding like a band that plays live a lot, they were squeaky tight, bass and drums sounding very good. All topped off by the soaring vocals of Joe Green, a man with that defines range! Proper, proper singing here (maybe too much in the upper registers for my taste) but whoa! Spot on, fits the music perfectly and effortlessly.
And the songs are also well constructed with enough hooks to grab your attention. Stick in an explosive stage show that any band would be proud of, overflowing with energy and you have a pretty impressive opening band!
Favourite “Future, Past and Present” showcases this band perfectly. Very impressive.
Next up are I Divide from Exeter and another plesant surprise. While not sounding quite as polished as Empire what I Divide have up their sleeves is an uncanny knack for writing great songs with singa longa bility. Many of their numbers get into your head effortlessly and have you singing along without even realising it.
The vocals of Tom Kavanagh are also pretty impressive, lots of range again and bang on the money. Best songs of the set are “Cold at the Bottom” and “I’m Not Leaving” both of which stick around in your head. Many of the others, whilst not being quite so immediate, once some effort is put in by the listener are real growers.
Closing song “Follow Me” leaves the small but enthusiastic crowd in no doubt that I Divide are going to be around the scene for a while yet….
So to the headliners, on their first headlining tour of the UK, The Dity Youth. For those of you who have not come across these guys before they are a five piece from Wales, fronted by a female singer in Danni Monroe. They are brash, ballsy and in your face. Although a little less so this evening than when I’ve seen them in the past to be honest.
Maybe it is the smallish crowd but The Dirty Youth, while turning in a decent performance never really feel like they’re out of 3rd gear. This might be me though, most of the songs are from the forthcoming album, “Gold Dust” and this is the first listen for many. There are a few from the previous album, “Red Light Fix”, including the infectious “Requiem of the Drunk” and “Fight”.
All are exectued perfectly but without the energy of a big crowd to feed from it all seems a little bit lacking. This is a huge shame, when on form the mix of metal and punk that the Dirty Youth dish up is difficult to ignore and hugely enjoyable. Tonight is OK but nothing more. When Danni says “we didn’t expect such a good turnout” you have to wonder if she is winding us all up….
Songs for the encore are “Alive” which has already been released as a video and the next single “The One”. Both very well performed, the latter really showing off the impressive vocals of Monroe very well.
I’m looking forward to hearing the recorded versions of the songs on “Gold Dust” and hearing them again in a live environment where hopefully I can connect better. I’m sure the Dirty Youth will be hoping for a larger crowd on their next outing too, they certainly deserve it.