Yungblud's energetic Summerfest set shows he's a star to watch
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"Yungblud has expressed himself through his music as 'a socially conscious artist unafraid of delivering genre-bending protest songs'."
As I was prepping for this review, I ran across the quote above, the lead sentence of Yungblud's Wiki page, taken from a 2018 interview with Fuse. With music fused with titles like "Parents" and hard-hitting lyrics against authority, I was forming a preconception of what Wednesday night's performance would hold. Was this just another kid lashing out at society with a microphone?
As Yungblud bolted onto the Miller Lite Oasis stage donning a rather revealing and well-fitted dress, the answer was a hard no.
Addressing the audience with the charge of "Let's go, baby!" he launched into the show opener, the hard hitting "21st Century Liability." Dominic Harrison (aka Yungblud) displayed all the passion and energy of a 21-year-old having fun with his music. As the set opened a fog started to settle in, it created a fitting nightclub-like haze. Playing the expansive Oasis stage with a mere trio was no problem as side man guitarist Matt Schwartz stretched the stage with long strolls to cover ground. Yungblud responded by rapidly coasting and jumping around, often finding himself on the front speakers trying to get as close to the audience as possible.
He drew from a limited catalog – understandable considering his full-length debut will have its first birthday just next week. Boasting almost seven million monthly Spotify plays, clearly the fans knew the material, singing along to nearly every cut. "I Love You, Will You Marry Me," with its catchy ska undertone, was great live. "Medication" and "California" also held up quite well, showing they aren't a studio-only product. "Polygraph Eyes" showed nice range from the opening rap and evolving into a nice melodic finish.
The stage presence included the aforementioned calisthenics which Yungblud embellished by throwing multiple kisses to the audience, jamming his butt into the stage video camera and pulling up his dress to reveal, well, more butt. One of the highlights was his almost puppet mastery of the crowd during "Anarchist," when he commanded the fans to wave their arms. We've all seen that before, but then he got everyone to go all the way down to the floor before erupting up and jumping around – easily confirming this wasn't just folks hanging out waiting for Taking Back Sunday.
They hit it hard for the hour-long set, which concluded with "California" and "Tin Pan Boy." Overall, it was a nice set, with room for musical improvement and the type of development that comes with time (and additional musicians).
It will be interesting to see where Yungblud goes next; recently, he's been involved with a lot of collaborations with Travis Barker and Machine Gun Kelly on "I Think I'm OKAY." He also struck gold with pop star girlfriend Halsey on the powerful "11 Minutes." As for where he will physically go next, he was in Belgium less than a week ago and will tour Canada, then Russia and Ukraine, before the July calendar flips.
He seemed grateful to be in Milwaukee, though, with the raucous crowd he met tonight, saying, "Wow, Milwaukee, you're loud. We got to get the f*ck back here soon!" Judging from the crowd's reaction, there will be plenty of fans here waiting for him. When he invited everyone to meet him at the end of the fence after the show for an impromptu meet-and-greet, there was a virtual stampede that made for an exciting ending to a strong show.
"21st Century Liability"
"I love you, Will you Marry Me"
"Ice Cream Man"
"Tin Pan Boy"
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