Ireland’s whenyoung make their LA Debut

By Allyson Nobles
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This week, Los Angeles welcomed whenyoung to their first two shows on the west coast at Bardot and Moroccan Lounge. Their hometown is Ireland’s city of the same name as the bawdy and humorous verse, Limerick. However, this trio was no joke serving up a boundless force to a full house on Monday at Bardot’s School Night and later opening for Prateek Kuhad to a sold-out crowd at Moroccan Lounge on Wednesday.

The exuberant group entered the stage in various red monochromatic getups illuminated by equally alluring stage lights. From the second their set kicked off, whenyoung’s energy emanated throughout the room. Singer and bassist Aoife Power was the unassuming powerhouse, donning an Americana-esque belted jumpsuit Captain Marvel herself would lust after, a structured look with blue and white accents at the shoulders.

Accompanying Power were guitarist Niall Burns in his own cut-off tee rendition of their one-color theme and drummer Andrew Flood, who eagerly showed off a suit going sans shirt beneath the fitted blazer. Their looks complimented the vibe of their set, animated and flashy without too much chaotic indulgence to distract from the whole reason they were on stage.

whenyoung’s playful and humble attitude came across as they noted it was their last show of their too-short American jaunt, only including sets in New York and at Austin’s South by Southwest. Burns noted they still had some remaining shirts and albums for sale, joking, “If you don’t buy merch you’re just costing us extra baggage!”

Despite their newness to the ears of much of the crowd, as well as stark contrast to headliner Prateek Kuhad, songs like “Blank Walls” were met with synced clapping to the beat, hands raised overhead. Flood didn’t miss a beat on his kick drum, standing while simultaneously clapping along as well.

Again and again, the songs oozed with all three bandmates smooth harmonies, and yet had the punchiness of funky bass lines, with rock-forward guitar riffs and drum hits. Songs like “Given Up” had a pop-like catchiness in its chorus, but was punctuated by a grimier guitar sound, well suited for the bitter acknowledgement of “falling down till six in the morning,” which probably rang out like a cringy Groundhog Day memory recurring in the minds of many of those dancing along.

Closing out, whenyoung played their newest track, “Never Let Go,” which they released at the beginning of the year. While in good company with the likes of U2 and The Cranberries (the latter of whom they have previously covered with the track “Dreams”), this anthem introduces whenyoung in their own right. Power’s vocals throughout the song resonated out as a sort of calling, reinforced by Burns’ and Flood’s support as well as visually with the flashing lights and crowd’s movement. By the end of their set, the shallow-ceilinged venue sat in a sort of dizzy humidity; the audience was warmed-up, excited, and perhaps even forgot who the headliner was, even if just for a moment.

whenyoung are going trans-Atlantic, returning to tour Ireland as well as throughout the United Kingdom.

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