Who: Yungblud / AViVA
Where: Factory Theatre, Sydney
When: Thursday February 14th, 2019
Review: Andrew Cauchi (Twitter)
Photos: Pat O'Hara (Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram)

There’s an undeniable charm about Doncaster’s own Dominic Harrison. In the midst of his second visit to Australia, and consequently his second consecutive sold-out tour, the British newcomer – otherwise known as Yungblud – set his sights to Sydney’s Factory Theatre. With a line that stretched through the venue’s courtyard, down the street and around the corner the air was thick with anticipation, yet it’s hard to say whether anybody really knew what was in store.

Opening proceedings as the only touring support, Sydney’s AViVA was a stark contrast to what
punters could expect out of the headlining act. With red and yellow lighting basking the venue, she took to the stage with an air of mystery, armed with an arsenal of ambient emo-pop hits. Flying through a set including fan-favourites “GRRRLS” and “BRN”, the set’s calmness and vibe-fueled atmosphere provided a unique foil to the energy and chaos that Yungblud was set to rain down on the venue. Despite the composure, there was a definite sense of attitude the flowed through AViVA’s lyrical flow and demeanour, and this was unsurprisingly lapped up by the legions of fans that had already flocked to the barricade.

As AViVA left the stage, the buzz in the air only grew stronger. With the show starting slightly behind schedule – undoubtedly contributing to the anticipation – eager fans struggled to keep still in preparation for Yungblud’s imminent set. Outbursts of screams broke through the venue each time a crew member took to the stage momentarily, but this was nothing in comparison to what was about to happen.

When the house lights dimmed, the surging crowd clamoured vigorously with excitement and I could have sworn there were thousands of fans packed into the venue, the volume of those screams could never have matched the venue’s 800-person capacity. That volume only got louder as Yungblud’s drummer and guitarist walked on stage but still, this paled in comparison to the roar that rose up as Harrison himself took to the stage.

From that point on the energy in the room never ceased. Opening his set with “21st Century Liability”, Harrison skipped and danced his way across the stage, hurling a drink bottle into the crowd. With attitude pouring from every pore of his skin, it’s clear that what you see with Yungblud is what you get – when you think of what the word ‘rockstar’ has come to mean today, he encompasses all of it.

It’s his rebellious attitude – the bratty tone to his voice as he sprays anthems of not conforming. Kicking and screaming, he trotted around the stage blowing kisses and poking his tongue out… Gene Simmons eat your heart out, y’know? The crowd was eating from the palm of his hands and he knew it – he could’ve sung not a single word and his army of fans would’ve cover for him.

Harrison went from hit to hit, including the Hottest 100 -charting “Polygraph Eyes” and recently released “Loner”, each with a different, yet equally important message about important cultural and social issues. It’s upsetting to think that to some, his image and personality might lead to his dismissal – but despite the punkish attitude, Yungblud is a genuine diamond in the rough.

Taking the time to play an unreleased song teased as “Ice Cream Man”, the energy from the crowd was unending in return. Through thick earplugs, the screams from the crowd were almost intolerably loud, yet their voices singing along to the words of an unreleased song was incredible. For every ounce of energy the crowd dug up, Harrison seemed to project double the effort back to them. The show had a distinct lack of production, but that was inconsequential when Harrison was such a fixating and expressive performer.

As rumours circulated before the show that emo princess Halsey would be joining, it was no surprise as two microphone stands found their way onstage prior to Harrison’s encore. Performing “11 Minutes” – the song Yungblud and Halsey wrote together and only released several hours earlier – the two shared an undeniable chemistry that made the song’s live debut an incredible thing to witness. Though Halsey’s presence on the stage was only short, it was unsurprisingly the peak of the set. As the set ended with “Machine Gun (F**k The NRA)”, the audience were out on their feet, like they hoped that if they gave it their absolute everything, the set might never end.

In the words of Halsey as she left the stage after her performance, “This group of young men are some of the best live performers I’ve ever seen.” There really isn’t much more to say. The show was incredible, and if you get the opportunity to experience Yungblud live, do not miss it.

Catch our full gallery of photos from Yungblud in Sydney after the jump!