Gig review: WU LYF, Sydney Opera House, 30/5/2011


When’s the last time you were genuinely excited about a band? That they lived up to the hype and blew you out of the water after all the cryptic online clues, NME speculation and mystery. I approached WU LYF’s show with the same trepidation that many would; after all, it is still up in the air as to whether they’re a cleverly concocted marketing strategy or the real deal. Truth be told, I don’t care if the songs are good. And they are.

Mysteries around this Manchunian band are slowly being unravelled as the launch date of their debut record nears, but when I attended their Australian debut show in the Studio, all I knew was what I’d seen on their Tumblr and the songs that can be found on YouTube. These are four barely 20-year-old guys who are focused on the entire package – music, visuals, a real all encompassing artistic experience. When they appear on stage, the illusion isn’t shattered so much as deepened manifold.

Ellery Roberts, the skinny short-mohawked lead singer is wiry, overtly exuberant in his vocal abilities with a scratching gravel tone that is bound to catch up with him after a few months of touring. They launch straight into LYF, and the sound is cataclysmic. The church-like organ crashes through with a heaving rhythm section and the room pounds with a surpressed energy. Yet no one is dancing.

That’s because almost everyone in the room is either in the music industry or writes about music (like me). The band barely sold a quarter of the room, so the space has been filled by barely curious psuedo-hipsters, and record label types wondering if they’ve missed signing the next big thing. This music should have inspired a dance riot, a sweaty all-ages mosh of pure, unadulterated joy. But when the bass player is having to ask the audience to ‘Please move forward,’ you get the feeling the vibe isn’t going to pick up.

Which is unfortunate given that they are a tight band. There’s no banter, though smiles do pass lips. They’re serious but don’t appear pretentious. They play for barely an hour, during which they cram in new song Dirt, the heaving Heavy Pop complete with throat-ripping screams and Split It Concrete Like The Colden Sun God. It’s enigmatic, evocative and emotive, but more than anything, it is fun.

WU LYF are more than the hype, and the intrigue regarding their background can now be transferred to expectations of their debut album.

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