Music review: Yungblud, O2 Academy, Edinburgh

In among all the standard rock theatrics, Yungblud gave his Edinburgh fans some moments of real heart, writes David Pollock
Yungblud PIC: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMediaYungblud PIC: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Yungblud PIC: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Yungblud, O2 Academy, Edinburgh ****

“Are you all feeling the f***ing love tonight, Edinburgh?”, asked Yungblud, the hottest thing in UK Gen Z rock, with a pelvic thrust and a signature Steven Tyler screech. “Tonight in Bonnie Scotland, I'm with my f***ing family!”

Dominic Harrison’s every other sentence was punctuated with the f-word, adding a spiky kind of tension to the creed of love and acceptance he preached throughout.

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Barely ten minutes into the show he played one of his signature songs, I Love You, Will You Marry Me, and the crowd struck up a fierce roar of the chorus before he was three words in. The 24-year-old from Darlington is the kind of artist whose fans might in the past have worshipped – and that’s not too strong a word – My Chemical Romance or Richey Edwards-era Manic Street Preachers, all man-mascara, gender fluidity and fierce political statements.

“In this family you can be who you want to be without judgement, you can be with who you wanna be with, you can identify however you want,” the red-jumpsuited force of nature continued, before he soared into the traditional punk sentiments of Anarchist.

Backed by a thunderously loud drummer, a guitarist and his own occasional guitar-playing, Harrison’s familiar rock sound is as trad-rooted as the fierce social liberalism of his words and music is born of the younger generation; after a costume change into a black leather miniskirt outfit, he waved the Transgender Pride flag to big cheers.

Superdeadfriends’ unstoppable momentum and bellowed lyric was reminiscent of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, the self-loathing Fleabag combined the opening riff from Oasis’ Wonderwall and a chorus with echoes of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and at one point his guitarist poured out a Led Zeppelin riff.

Amid all the standard rock theatrics, moments of real heart – from the crowd coming together to find one of their number’s lost passport, to the anthem for damaged youth, Love Song – felt very special.

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