“Even war is about love,” Yungblud is telling Hannah Ewens on their date to an East London taxidermy bar, in a conversation published by Vice in October 2021. It’s a statement spoken with force and intent; the only proof he needs are his sold-out shows.
On the holy Sabbath just past, the doors of Alexandra Palace were opened and a crowd of ten thousand took communion at the altar of the flaming punk prince, Yungblud. The red carpets had been rolled out, and along them strolled a more extreme breed of beauty, styled in Camden-market leathers, spiked-collars and cherry reds.
“When you come to one of my shows there’s so much love in the air…you can walk into a fucking room and everyone looks like each other and talks like each other,” Yungblud had mused.
True, we all felt the love that evening: it was in the sips of lukewarm beer, the chainmail of arms pulling friend-friend-friend through a pulsing crowd. It was even in the devilish grin of the boy being escorted out of the venue, security flanked on either side, the laces of his Creepers trailing after him. To Alexandra Palace some had come to repent for their sins, and others had come to make new ones. Total anarchy! I was extremely into it.
Once in full darkness, pixelated screens came to life showing the full curvature of red lips. In Joker-esque caricature, Yungblud pledges allegiance to the strange, the trashy and the grotesque. John Waters gone e-boy. Hips swinging in a welcome fuck-you to everything that exists outside his world, he saunters onstage to deliver his message to the so-called weirdos of Generation Z: something else exists outside what your parents and school would like you to know.
In his red studded boiler-suit, Yungblud rages on ‘Strawberry Lipstick’, ‘Parents’ and ‘Anarchist’, before stripping down to his leathers to make sweet homage to Bowie in ‘mars’ and throwing in some Machine Gun Kelly for good measure. In between beer-breaks and outfit changes, he tells the crowd to look after each other. Be wild. Rage. But make sure no one gets left behind.
It was bewildering to think that the ringmaster of this sexed-up circus could do something as boring as sit down at the piano to play a simple melody. But beyond the pyrotechnics, the spiked red-rubber duck, the grunting, grinding, drooling and biting, there is a lot of heart in everything that Yungblud does. “How the fuck did this happen?” he asks during the encore, surveying the crowd of his biggest headline show to date. When his voice breaks in ‘teresa’ and ten thousand voices step in to fill the silence, that to me, sounds like freedom.
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Words: Jessica Fynn
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