This year, it feels, has been Young Fathers’ year; which seems unusual to say about a band withy multiple breakthroughs in their history, including a Scottish Album of the Year Award for Tape Two in 2014 and a Mercury Prize for Dead the same year. In 2018 they’ve become the first artist to win the SAY Award for the second time – for their third album Cocoa Sugar – but it’s the public response to that record which has been truly telling.
Young Fathers, Glasgow Academy ****
The venues have been bigger, the radio plays have been more frequent, and the word-of-mouth about their live shows has been ever more breathlessly excited.
This show - their last of the year in Scotland and the first to feature fellow Edinburgh musician Callum Easter on keyboards and lap steel guitar, alongside their regular and famously frantic live drummer Steven Morrison – demonstrated why; onstage they’re an exercise in furious, joyous commitment, from the edgy, jittery sense of masculinity in crisis soaking through Toy, to the breathless, party-while-the-world-burns aesthetic of Wow and Get Up.
Their success on the live stage stems from the clear sense that the group’s core trio in particular are possessed of an inability to phone it in, to deliver anything but a fully committed performance. Ally Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole, in particular, are fiercely good dancers, calling to mind the physical energy the Prodigy infuse their live set with, albeit with a very different style of music, and they reference this themselves in the opening Wire’s fierce “oh ya f****r, I can dance!” chorus. Joined at the mic by Graham ‘G’ Hastings for the three-part harmony of In My View or the raw, soulful spirituality of Only God Knows, they become the pop stars and the aspirational male role models which 2018 needs. - David Pollock