Youth Group

with The Gin Club

The doors have only just opened tonight at Brisbane's Troubadour and already the sold out venue is starting to fill. There's a quiet anticipation in the air, as we're all here to see Brisbane's Gin Club and Sydney's Youth Group.


At 8:30pm the first primal folk-rock rhythms of The Gin Club take shape and an appreciative crowd surges forward. Vying for a position, fans sit anywhere they can claim some vacant floor.


Someone shouts "1234 yeee-haw!" and we're away for a rawking good time with one of Brisbane's most dynamic live acts.


The Gin Club began performing in 2003, and after years of heavy gigging and multiple tours the maturity of this project is obvious. From opener "Jim" to the closing track and crowd favourite "Drug Flowers" it's glorious. Wonderfully raw, frighteningly delicate and maddeningly complicated yet stupefyingly simple. The musicians take their alternate places between songs with confidence and efficiency and each instrument swap is a chance to see and hear a new facet of this captivating ensemble.


Perhaps one select moment of magic was watching Conor MacDonald take centre stage for "Dear Rose", his fragile, sweet voice drawing in an increasingly captivated audience of old fans and the newly converted alike.


Towards the end of the set I foolishly give up my space to seek out a fresh beer, only to be forced to watch the remaining songs from the back of the room- that is the level of crowd here tonight. Sardines anyone?


As quickly as it began it's over and we remember we're here for something else entirely, yes this evening's treats have only just begun. Youth Group emerge from the Troubadour's tiny backstage area and take their places on stage to a jubilation usually reserved for rescued Tasmanian miners.


At first the pairing of the Gin Club and Youth Group seems a strange choice but once vocalist Toby Martin swaggers to the microphone the connection is immediately obvious. Not only does Martin appear strikingly similar to a young Dylan, he moves, dresses and holds his guitar just like him too. Albeit, he's a far superior singer!


Opening with "Someone Else's Dream" Toby Martin tells the seated crowd "You better stand up!" and we do. The people surge forward until we are face up to Fender guitars, ears to Vox amplifiers and we love it.


Looking around the Troubadour it's now standing room only. Fans of the Gin Club stand pressed against Youth Group fans, some of whom might have thought they were on the way to Newport's Bait Shop tonight. Scarves, pink t-shirts and … ahh it's ok, we're all here to share the love tonight.


There isn't a lot of talk between songs and we're treated to a host of tracks from the last LP Skeleton Jar and a preview of some of the tracks from the forthcoming record, including the next single "Catching and Killing". At times Youth Group echo fleeting glimpses of the Whitlams, if they hadn't become your parents' FM rock band.


Springing current chart buster "Forever Young" on us mid set, Toby's bell-like vocals soar over a surprisingly restrained crowd. The pink t-shirts join in and for a few magical minutes we're back on the teather ball court with Napoleon and Deb, or was that standing on Newport Beach with Ryan and Marissa?


Youth Group close the set with "Daisychains" but we're not fooled that easily. Of course they return to the stage, ripping through crowd favourites Shadowland and closing (this time for real) with the poignantly powerful Seesaw.


If you've new to Youth Group, scratch the surface beneath Forever Young, there's a wealth of great music already available and given tonight's previews… in Napoleon's words "There's plenty more where this came from."

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