Farewell YMSS

Posted by jill on March 27, 2010

Youthmovies, originally uploaded by jellybeanz.

There aren’t that many bands left from 2002 who are both still a going concern and whose music still interests me today. With the end of Youthmovies/Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies/YMSS/Youm it’s another one crossed off a very short list. Partly it’s me, over the last eight years my interests have moved on, and whilst many of those bands from 2002 haven’t moved on very much, Youthmovies were one of the few who had felt the need to constantly reinvent their sound and challenge themselves.

Thinking back to my first impressions of the band, at the Wheatsheaf in November 2002, I wasn’t entirely convinced by them. What were four guys roughly my age doing wearing nurses outfits onstage? By the second time, in December, I had already been converted. At the time I wrote ‘It’s a bit awkward jumping from one style to another, once they settle down to one they could be very interesting.’ Memories of Youthmovies phase 1 is a blur of shows (generally at the Wheatsheaf) featuring them and other kindred spirits, Cat on Form, 65daysofstatic, Edmund Fitzgerald and so on.

With the release of ‘Hurrah…’, Youthmovies phase 2 developed into a far more interesting prospect. It is from this era that I have some of my favourite memories of the band. There was the house party in Oxford in April 2007, where I made everyone drink Chinese white wine freshly brought back from a trip to Hong Kong, and the show on Brick Lane where the band played a more experimental show linking their songs with lots of improvised noise in between.

The final show downstairs at the Zodiac was never going to be a classic performance for the band, it was too emotional for that. And when Al whacked himself in the face with his guitar second song in, we knew this show was going to be remarkable in a different way. What was great about this was the atmosphere. By performing in the round, the audience were looking at each other and also cheering on the band. Everyone sang along, savouring every last moment of this remarkable live band.

As a final thought, here are some ‘What Ifs’…

-What if they were luckier, how far would they have gone?

-What if they kept going, what would they sound like in ten years’ time


Autumn slowdown

Posted by jill on November 6, 2008

There has been a lack of posts recently, and that’s because I really haven’t been to any shows (apart from a fantastic Jeffrey Lewis gig at the Scala where I went all a bit fan-girl). I haven’t even got a foreign holiday to blame for this lack of enthusiasm for live music. Hopefully, things will change with November (and I have tickets to a few potentially great shows in the next few weeks).

To kickstart this run of live shows, first it was a return to see Youthmovies. Firstly, the bad points, it would be difficult to top the last show I saw back in April, where they interspersed their own songs with pretty interesting improvised bits. This show may come pretty close to the top in the ratio of cost of entrance compared to the status/popularity of the band. London gigs are expensive, but £9 to see Youthmovies is just a bit extreme, especially compared with ‘only’ £13 to see Retribution Gospel Choir and Micah P Hinson round the corner at the Scala. The only consolation for the ticket price was that at least it was still £3 cheaper than buying the ticket off the internet. (Even though Youthmovies are great, are they really worth paying £12 to see?)

As it was the first night of the tour, the Youthmovies show itself was pretty scrappy, particularly with faulty guitar leads cutting out every so often. However, through the faults there were still moments which make them a great live band to watch (and one to listen to on record). From Sam’s looping of his trumpet parts in the introduction to Magdalen Bridge to those moments where Graeme’s drumming continue to drive the different sections of a song forward.

The show tonight reaffirms the great things about bands like Youthmovies. Even in the midst of technical faults and other problems there are always moments in every show which will lead to you want more, but hopefully next time won’t be as expensive.



Posted by jill on April 23, 2008

Originally, this was going to be my night in this week, a quiet night in the middle of a week full of awesome bands. But then I realised that Youthmovies were playing in a bar only about 15minutes from my flat. So to continue my week of musical awesomeness I had to go to this show. And what a reward for dragging myself to this show…

Instead of the normal Youthmovies show, this was the party after the UK première of The Tracey Fragments, a new film starring Ellen Page. So Youthmovies played along to a video backdrop of live vj clips from the film. And rather than just playing the normal set, the band alternated between improvisations and their own songs. It was a powerful set, and reminds me why they are one of my favourite live bands.