A block past Union Station and a long way down H Street resides the legendary Rock & Roll Hotel.
Once inside the venue, guests must wait upstairs, welcomed to an open bar and sitting area as well as a hypnotic jukebox until the stage downstairs is ready. Guitars with wings hang from the ceiling and skulls are scattered behind the bar in the dimly lit room. Placed in the corner of the room, the obscure and unattended merch table drew little attention.
Of the available merchandise on Saturday, March 24, Youth Lagoon had a different approach in selling their debut album from 2011, “The Year of Hibernation.” On display, they had the standard CD, vintage vinyl, and a…cassette.
Perhaps this is the direction this generation is headed in- backwards.
Opening for Youth Lagoon was Dana Buoy. The duo played songs from their new record “Summer Bodies,” which will be out this May.
Before Youth Lagoon’s set, the tech crew appeared to have some technical difficulties with the chords on the microphone and the synthesizer. After a good ten minutes, all seemed well and Youth Lagoon casually graced the stage.
After Youth Lagoon opened with “Posters,” the crowd properly greeted Trevor Powers, wearing his signature black trucker hat and cuffed jeans, and his “good friend” Logan Hyde, who wore a sweet pair of worn-in New Balances with jeans and a T-shirt underneath an open button-down.
The young 22 year-olds are a long way from their homes in Boise, Idaho, but they didn’t seem phased by the DC crowd. (Then again, they performed in front of a much larger crowd for SXSW last week.) This show was sold out so the venue was packed from front to back.
Powers interacted with the crowd a few times, asking everyone how their night was, and thanking DC for having him. Later, he talked about the $4 sweatshirt he just purchased at the Salvation Army down the street to keep him warm, then proceeded to ask the audience “what keeps you warm?”
Hyde, a little parched, spoke out and asked if anyone had water, but sadly, his request was denied by silence.
Powers plays with an admirable amount of passion. He’s so into his music, pouring his heart into every word he speaks. Hunched over, he throws himself into the keyboard as he gracefully pounds on it.
It’s almost impossible to name crowd favorites because everyone there clearly loves every individual song on the album. All voices came together as one singing along to “Seventeen.”
Personally, I thought “Cannons” and “Daydream” had the most impact, with Powers’ intense beats whilst stroking the keyboard, and Hyde’s insanely sick guitar riffs. After hearing those tracks performed live, they’re my favorites from the album.
Youth Lagoon also played “Bobby,” a bonus track, which Powers wrote about his older brother.
After endless chants for an encore, Youth Lagoon returned and finished the evening with “Afternoon.”
Youth Lagoon live sounds identical to their album, but 20 times louder and harder. It feels like the beats possess the audience’s body as the vibrations run down your throat and tingle the tips of your fingers. Instead of the beats deafening a person, they numb and paralyze them entirely.
After the show, everyone forgot how to walk because they lost feeling in their legs from being put to sleep by the beautiful music that is Youth Lagoon.
It was a quick show that only lasted about two hours, but for a mere $16, Youth Lagoon was more than worth it.