- Live Review
- 24 Apr 23
On the second-to-last night of their tour, Whenyoung brought an intimate, lively air to Whelan's Mainstage, supported by Lauren Ann.
To get to the main stage of Whelan’s, you must venture down the alley adjacent to the signs along the street, stop at the door to check your ticket, go past the bar, and descend.
The darkly lit room of where Whelan’s main stage resides is unmistakably intimate and otherworldly. The first thing visible upon entry after the bar was the red lettered black banner finely scrawling "Whenyoung" over the stage. Below it, blue and pink lighting glinted off the band's carefully preplaced instruments, teasing hints of what was to come.
Hailing from Newry, the 18-year-old Irish act Lauren Ann opened the night backed by her drummer and producer friend, Darragh Tibbs. Quietly sitting down at the drums, Tibbs subtly started the set and gave Lauren Ann the perfect, cinematic opening.
Dauntlessly walking out, stepping over cable wires one leg after the other, Lauren Ann quickly got the people in the pit rocking back and forth, bopping their heads in time with her as she sang onstage. A whirlwind of energy and music, bangs flying in her face, it was a magnificent start to the Sunday night show.
Then, at half past nine, the main act took Whelan's mainstage.
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Hefting the mic into one hand and wrapping its cord around another, Whenyoung's Aoife Power started off the band's set with 'Shame Train' from their second and latest album, Paragon Songs.
It was the perfect night for making memories, as demonstrated by Aoife holding up a disposable camera to the audience with the intent to immortalise the moment.
"No flash?" She asked, fiddling with the camera. When the burst of light went off, it was visible all around in the lights-down venue, garnering cheers across the room.
Following it up with the second track off the new album, Aoife's euphoniously sang 'Rubiks Cube.' A lively night, it was also perfect for introducing new material to eager fans who were already well on their way to learning all the words.
"Alright Dublin! This is another new one," announced Whenyoung duo member Andrew Flood soon after from behind the drums. "It's called 'The Laundress.'"
"I'm getting good, I'm getting good at this / Washing off, the blemishes / Allow my mind, some rest / Clean up the mess: / The Laundress"
Returning to old favourites, they then played the 2019 single 'Future' from Reasons To Dream, the band's debut album, of which the opening chords got whoops and cheers from the crowd. Keeping to older tracks, they then played the titular track from their 2018 EP Given Up followed by an aside ("We appreciate the energy!") and 'A Labour of Love.'
"So we released our album about three weeks ago now," Aoife mentioned, earning a disbelieving "Three weeks?" from Andrew.
"Two? One? I don't know" Aoife continued.
"We released an album, okay?" Andrew assured, earning a few chuckles.
"Time goes very quickly when you're on tour and don't know what day it is," Aoife laughed. "But this is one from the album and it's called 'Home Movie.'"
The edgy indie gem 'Unchained' was prefaced with a call-out thanking Lauren Ann and Darragh, who had not only supported Whenyoung at Whelan's last night but all across the Ireland stretch of their tour.
Clutching the mic delicately between her hands, Aoife shyly moved into 'A Little Piece of Heaven.' Ending with enticing, enchanted, repeated whispers, it was made all the more powerful by the audience's own cadence joining into the echo.
"All you need is a little piece of heaven."
Very happy to be getting back on the road in April! Tickets on sale 10am Wednesday... More news coming this week https://t.co/rgRUzEEOov pic.twitter.com/xsBQISR9ea
— Whenyoung (@whenyoungband) November 28, 2022
The pondering lyrics to 'Gan Ainm,' "How do the days go by so fast?" invoked not just a reclamation of independence, but the feeling of shucking off a burdensome weight off one's shoulders. It was the perfect song to reinvigorate resolve for the oncoming week.
"This is a very, very, very old one. Very old, old one. One of our firsts," Aoife fondly recalled, ahead of playing another track from Given Up, the single 'Sleeper.'
"We're reaching way back into our archives," joked Flood.
"Thank you for being respectful," he added. "Not one person talking shite!"
After 'Ghost,' Aoife began counting down to the final song. It served to both hype the room, encouraging people to enjoy it to the greatest extent, and warning them of the night's oncoming, unfortunate end.
"Thank you so much! We have three left, so Dublin, thank you so much for this. This is 'Pretty Pure.'"
Heralded by reassurances of "Two more!" 'Never Let Go' was followed by a silent promise of "one more," mouthed at the crowd from on-stage and a coy, knowing question.
"Should we do a sing-along?"
Finishing the night was the simply fun song 'The Others,' complete with its own little preemptive singing class teaching the crowd to go "Oh, oh, oh~!"
A wonderful show, the Whenyoung even stayed after at the merch booth, truly fostering a friendly vibe throughout and after their performance.
If you've missed them so far, there's still one more chance to catch them. Whenyoung's last show on their tour for Paragon Songs is this Tuesday, April 25th at Louth's The Spirit Store.
Check out tickets to see Whenyoung live, here:
Listen to Whenyoung's latest album, Paragon Songs, here:
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