There are times when I’ve often wondered what some of my schoolmates are doing now. Yesterday, I was given a blast to the past and reminisced about memories from my youth. The “youth” in this case was Gold & Youth, a Vancouver-based band, whose founding members are originally, like myself, from Victoria. When I first saw the band personnel one name stood out: drummer Jeff Mitchelmore. He was two years ahead of me in middle school (St. Michael’s), and he was part of the rhythm section during my first summer musical theatre camp. Jeff recognized my name as well, and we had a bit of time to catch each other up. (It has been about a dozen years after all). The mind has a strange way of releasing memories.
So just who are these golden youth? In addition to Mitchelmore, the group features fellow SMUS alum Matthew Lyall on lead vocals and guitar, Murray McKenzie on rhythm guitar and backup vocals, and Louise Burns on bass, vocals and keyboards. (Though the three singers have a habit and switching places – and occasionally instruments – on stage). Lyall started off the set a little flat, but both he and the band recovered nicely. They are in their infancy as performers so I’m sure audience members are more forgiving.
Lyall has stated that “we write pop songs, but we’re not a pop band.” How very right he is. Instead, what Gold & Youth are can be described as a millennial infusion of post-rock and chillwave complete with a solid skeleton and cohesive internal organs. Lyall and Mitchelmore stated that they are fans of electronic music, but that they don’t know how to create it. I would slightly disagree with this, as Lyall’s liberal use of the synthesizer showed the beginnings of a possible electro-funk extravaganza and some of the songs came out sound very Gorillaz-esque. Their backdrop also played an important role. Filled with lights, Louise took centre stage for once song and the entire band became silhouettes. It was a breathtaking image, and reminded me of a Maynard James Keenan performance I was once saw.
For me, the most interesting about the show was that G&Y are the audience in which they play for: late twenty-early thirty-somethings, many of whom are recent post-secondary graduates just starting their careers. While there were a lot of family and friends in the crowd at Fortune that night, the fact that so many people whom they didn’t know were around the same age as the band members gave the whole show a sense of oneness. Also, hardly iPhone recording of the concert. This crowd knew the meaning of living in the moment. The audience even gave the band their first-ever encore. Clearly we are witnessing the germ of something that has the potential to be quite lovely. Another thing that stood out, was how Lyall gave way to Burns on a couple songs, letting her take centre stage and allowing the band to really showcase her voice. Even McKenzie got in on the action. But not Mitchelmore. Because, you know, he’s the drummer.
They are doing a mini-tour – Toronto, Hamilton, New York, among others – including a stop at NXNE. Not bad for a band who just released their debut LP. They are signed to the Arts & Crafts, which has been host to some of the best Canadian music and artists in recent times. Hopefully, Gold & Youth will continue that trend.
Beyond The Wilderness was released May 14th on Arts & Crafts.
RIYL: Gorillaz, MS MR, Sigur Ros, Sade
In something completely un-related: I have been two tickets to give away to see Atlas Genius in Vancouver on Sunday May 26th at Venue. First person to answer this questions wins: What was the name of Atlas Genius’ first single?