Live Review

Yoofs + Woman’s Hour, The Cricketers, Kingston

The perfect balance between imaginative, rehearsed pop and routine brashness.

In a First On write-up a good month back, DIY profiled Yoofs, a trio of young, supremely talented guys with all the perfect ingredients to make scratchy, bratty lo-fi punk for years to come, if they so pleased. And yet in what is one of their first shows out of hometown Bournemouth, the three-piece bring forth a collection of songs that don’t entirely adhere to their predicted route. To say they stray off course would sound negative - in fact, we’re given at least one track that spans over the three-minute mark; some glimpses of candid lyrics and something resembling a “heartfelt” song or two. They’re far from compliant with the full-on raucousness we might associate them with.

And yet, there’s little pretending that Yoofs aren’t at their best when they’re throwing a musical tantrum on stage, triumphantly shouting the chorus to ‘Good Guyz Make Bad Friendz’ to a crowd of drunken uni students. It’s the perfect translation from scratchy recording to sweaty on-stage appearance.

To follow-up such streamlined chaos is a formidable challenge for Woman’s Hour and when you compare the two acts’ set-ups, it’s easy to see why you’re left slightly underwhelmed by the second act of the night. Out goes a standard drum kit that’s been battered to death, in comes a fairly impression-less drum machine. Replacing harsh, nonchalant male vocals is Fiona Jane’s more calculated stance: Thoroughly more interesting in some respects but far less enchanting in the heavy-aired surroundings of Kingston’s Cricketers venue.

The highlight of the night comes when one of the acts strikes the perfect balance between imaginative, rehearsed pop and routine brashness. Midway through Yoofs set, we’re treated to a clearly Deerhunter-influenced track, rarely settling in one place for too long and showcasing a side to Bournemouth’s youngest exports that you’d never have expected to see. It’s the perfect rebuttal to anyone arriving to the show, expecting much of a same from the group’s 20 minute performance.

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