Yungblud has had a meteoric rise to the top. Known for his outlandish and exuberant style both in fashion and music his style and charisma have taken him from performing in small venues to arenas and festivals at an incredible pace. I had heard a few things about his shows and I was really excited to dive deeply into the world of Yungblud and get stuck right in.
Upon arriving at the arena the excitement was electric, fans both young and old bopping about with nervous excitement as they queued for merch, donned their make up and lubricated themselves with refreshments from the bar. Its worth noting that it was the first time for me seeing gender neutral toilets at the venue which from overhearing from others at the show was very welcomed and I hope sets a precedent for future shows. One of the things id heard about Yungblud shows was inclusivity and seeing this immediately made me know that everyone there that night was wanted and welcomed
To warm up the eager fans were Welsh punk rockers Neck Deep, a band capable and worthy of the support slot. Lead singer Ben Barlow setting the crowd alight before the first chord was played by coming on stage donning a Manchester United shirt, naughty. A feat particularly salty due to the fact they are set to play Newcastle United in a cup final a mere few days away. With all eyes set on them they jumped head first into a frantic and energetic set full of all the hits from their 10 year career prompting circle pits and beer launched into the air for a solid 30 minutes ending with their greatest hit ‘In Bloom’
With a screen covering the entirety of the stage we eagerly awaited Yungblud’s arrival. The sound of pouring rain rang through the speakers and a winged figure projected in front of us we knew we were only seconds away from the show. With a bang the screen dropped and we were flung headfirst into ‘21st Century Liability’. Fireworks and flames erupted all across the stage in unison as he ran from one side to the other faster than anyone id seen on there before. He beckons his fans to raise their hands and they do so jubilantly as they desperately reach out to be that little bit closer to him.
He played through hit after hit, during ’Fleabag’ he exclaimed that even at these huge arena shows that he wants to get close to the audience and that exactly what he did next. He storms off the stage and beelines straight towards us in the seats, it couldn’t quite believe it, he’s now only a few meters away as we all sing along to the last chorus. As he shares his love for our city out of nowhere his eye catches something heading his way and boom! He catches a beer launched at him. Without flinching he chugs it and says “that better not have been piss!” And makes it back to the stage. Incredible.
For much of the second half of his set he put himself further into the spotlight when he makes use of the smaller, second stage set deep inside the standing section. Here is where he can truly work his magic with his fans. Every move he makes they follow, when he raises his hand the copy with exuberance and joy singing back every single word. He finds one fan on the barrier called Chloe and lets he pick the next song. She asks for ‘Psychotic Kids’ and they dive right into it.
Nearing the end of the show the tempo is taken down for ‘Mars’ and ‘Sweet Heroine’ with the former dedicated to the teenager Breanne Ghay. Yungblud uses his platform to promote beautiful messages of love and equality as were told that “at Yungblud shows I want you all to go home with two new friends” we looked at our neighbors and joined arm in arm as he serenades us. The global hit he made with Machine Gun Kelly ‘I Think I’m Okay’ rounds out the evening with ‘Loner’ being the final song to what has easily been one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time.
Yungblud manages to create an intimate relationship with his fans even in a venue like this and manages to connect with them all effortlessly. He’s not their puppet master pulling at their stings but a conductor playing with his orchestra. Through his rough looking exterior and anarchist vibes he projects an aura of love and compassion at his shows that flow through the audience and infects us all with a sense of togetherness.
Article & Photos By Sam Wall