British new-age rocker YUNGBLUD set his sights on Thebarton Theatre last Sunday as part of this year’s Splendour in the Grass sideshows and his rescheduled Life On Mars Australian Tour. After his SITG main stage set was cancelled due to wet weather, this was one of Dominic Harrison’s (real name) first Australian shows since before the Pandemic. With lost time to make up and full intent to tear Thebby a new one, the Northern English firecracker came armed with noise, energy and heart ready to give his devoted following a night to remember.
The night opened with Adelaide’s own Peach PRC who has enjoyed a steady rise to the limelight in recent years. From popularity on Tik Tok, Peach PRC has built a passionate fanbase around her shimmering glitchy pop anthems. Dressed in pink head to toe, her melodies soared over glittery backing tracks with crowd participation on songs like God Is a Freak and a rendition of Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag. The set was closed by Peach’s breakout Josh that placed 35 on 2021’s Triple J Hottest 100.
After a short intermission the lights went down and an impatient audience were made to wait in darkness for over five minutes. This time was used for the crowd to warm up their vocal cords with chants of “YUNGBLUD” echoing throughout the room.
After an eerie warning message detailing the carnage that was about to ensue, the man of hour burst on to the stage to rapturous screams as the band kicked off the show with 2020’s Strawberry Lipstick. The audience was electric from the get-go, drowning out YUNGBLUD at points. Harrison didn’t seem to mind as he often leant on his faithful to scream lines for him.
Early highlights were parents and The Funeral as they really highlighted YUNGBLUD’s commanding stage presence and showmanship. Bouncing around the stage with his trademark punk mannerisms and wired persona, he had the capacity crowd eating out of his hand. This was not a show for the faint-hearted as there was hardly a song without time taken to open a mosh pit or count down for the whole room to jump. Always thoughtful of his devoted, Harrison stopped the show multiple times to see if audience members were okay, directing security to people in need. The show was also stopped briefly by a broken crowd barrier which then welcomed the challenge of breaking through the floor next.
With energy and chaos, YUNGBLUD also showed a lot of heart taking time throughout the show to address the diverse crowd being truly a gig for people from all walks of life. He preached a theme of family calling on all those labelled “freaks” or “aliens” to lean on each other. A greater theme of unity and acceptance was in the air and was highlighted by members of the audience holding a Transgender Pride Flag being welcomed on to the stage. This more pensive and thoughtful side of YUNGBLUD was heard on tracks such as weird!, Polygraph Eyes and the Bowie-esque mars.
The main set was drawn to a close with a mixed bag of tunes compiled of stripped back versions of cotton candy and Kill Somebody and thunderous anthems like fleabag and his collaboration with Machine Gun Kelly I Think I’m OKAY. After another minor intermission, YUNGBLUD returned to finish with an encore of braindead! and the now cult classic Machine Gun which included a belated crack at “ScoMo”. After thanking everyone for coming out and confirming he has a “fookin family in Adelaide” the show was over.
YUNGBLUD is an immense showman and talent that needs to be seen to be justly experienced. His energy is unmatched. He’s loud, proud and in your face but also shows extreme love for the community he’s cultivated. He looks to close his Australian tour this week.
Live Review By David Kerr