Dublin alt-folk band The Young Folk [9/10] stopped by Birmingham on their UK tour promoting the release of their new single ‘Way Home’ and ahead of their debut album release in August. Having played at Cambridge Folk (read our preview of this year’s festival here) and supported Midlake last year, they’re well on their way to big things. It was a real treat to see them in a smaller, relaxed setting of The Hare & Hounds. Despite the small audience, they made their stage their own and played confidently as they would to a bigger audience. I think it’s fair to say that everyone was blown away by these four Irish chaps, on their fifth night performing in a row, they gave a beautiful, harmonious performance that had us all tapping and swaying .
They kicked off with one of their slower tracks, ‘Grown’, which gave us a taste of what was to come. Followed by ‘My Friends’, the first track on their album ‘The Little Battle’, it had lovely summer festival vibes. The four band members are clearly very good friends and comfortable on stage, the banter in between songs was entertaining and helped create a relaxed atmosphere.
My personal favourite was ‘I’ve Been Here Before’, it perfectly encapsulated everything I love about folk music. It shows off Anthony Furley’s vocals and guitar picking skills as well has the band’s spine chilling harmonies. They then treated us to one of their new tracks, ‘Bright Eyed Thieves’, multi-instrument playing Paul Butler wacked out his melodica, a quirky instrument which I haven’t seen since primary school, but the sound it produced complimented the song.
As someone who moves abroad every now and then to study or work, a lot their songs stuck a cord with me. ‘Letters’, a beautiful slower track, tells the heartfelt story of leaving home and loved ones and upon returning things have changed, ‘I’ll promise you I’ll never give up’. Their recent single, ‘Way Home’, followed. Similar in theme but with a more positive approach, and if there was ever the perfect toe tapping song, this would be it.
For their penultimate song, ‘Olivia Leaves’, (who’s Oliver?) the band left the stage and placed themselves in the middle of the stage, the audience gathered around and silence fell. Furey began to strum his guitar and sing, the others joined in, and soon the audience too. Singing ‘Olivia don’t let me down’ louder each time and then whispering. It was very intimate and original. They ended with ‘Sad Day’, an upbeat number, and everyone queued up to buy their album ‘The Little Battle’ and so should you. This has been one of the best performances I’ve seen and I’m very much looking forward to catching more of their shows!