Words – Georgia Corpe
Photos- Bobby Rein
When telling my friends I was going to see Youth Group on Saturday night it was often met with a vacant blank stare with some thinking I was some kind of secret church goer, while others remarking, ‘oh yeah they sung that Forever Young song’ – these comments reinforcing my elitist views of the band I grew up listening to, like I was in a special club of music lovers who were lucky enough to appreciate the wonders of an album like Skeleton Jar.
Sydney based indie-rock band Youth Group returned from years of being on hiatus to revive their beloved album, with Brisbane being the last stop for the brief tour which also saw the band play shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
The performance, true to its description, was a bevy of Skeleton Jar hits as the album was played in its entirety, from start to finish. Opening up with Shadowland’s distinctive rhythmic pounding, the crowd were immediately enchanted. Not only an inspirational opening track for the album, but also a lively introduction to the bands show. Unfortunately, Toby Martin was not able to sing to his finest as he was steadily losing his voice, but like a true performer he never let it diminish the quality of the tunes. In his words, he went all ‘Bob Dylan’ on the crowd. The crowd was particularly helpful on vox in the title track, as Martin became seemingly overwhelmed by the wave of ‘Oh Yeahs’ that carried the song.
In a recent Q&A with Bear Family, Martin discussed how great it was to be rekindled with his band mates saying that touring in a van with Cameron, Danny, and Patrick was one of the most magical times of his life. That sense of reminiscence shined through during the show as Youth Group were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd, shooting smiles at each other and taking their time on stage. As it was Cameron’s birthday, the band felt obliged to celebrate with a few more setlist additions than originally intended, including an impromptu ‘happy birthday’ song from the crowd.
A truly special moment was for myself and fellow Youth Group fan Vincent, as we were invited on stage to help out Toby sing crowd favourite Baby Body. As I was a bit stage-shy I was happy to let Vincent take the reins and watch him share a special moment with the band as he belted out ‘you know these fuckers never close!’
For many others like myself it was a turbulent night for lovers of Youth Group’s sophomore album Skeleton Jar, and although released a decade ago it still carries so much relevance for Youth Group fans today. As Martin has hinted towards a possible new album in the works, we are hoping this isn’t the last we see of Youth Group.