By Tori Wilson
  • Mr Charisma

    Mr Charisma


It’s been two years since Gang of Youths released their J Award-nominated debut The Positions.

Lead singer Dave Le’aupepe had drawn up a lot of power from a well of memories flowing from his four-year relationship with a woman fighting terminal cancer to produce the moody but at times uplifting record.

There was a lot of doubt that Sydney’s indie rock five-piece could pull off another album with the same rawness and intensity. Le’aupepe himself was recently reported to have even said: “I’m not talented enough to keep doing this s*it. I legitimately am not good enough at what I do.”

But he was wrong. Plain and simple.

Performing songs from their new album - Go Farther In Lightness - the whole band killed it; and at Freo’s Metropolis last night I experienced the Le'aupepe effect first hand in all its glory.

The band made people move and feel, with its unique grunge meets pop sound and Le’aupepe’s signature deep, husky voice.

But not only did they ace what they’re known for, they also demonstrated versatility and took the risk of showcasing some of their slower songs; for which the band strum slow-moving melodies and Le’aupepe’s intense huskiness was replaced with notes of velvet.

Music aside, Le’aupepe’s stage presence was phenomenal and had me smiling all night wishing we were mates.

When the upbeat melody of Let Me Down Easy swept across the stage, his moves had him looking like Kit Harington dancing like Beyoncé ­­– pretty much exactly what I want to see on my Saturday night out.

Despite the songs carrying some pretty heavy themes about what it means to be human with our self-loathing, anxiety, sorrows and joys; Le’aupepe and the band exuded positivity and pure energy.

With Max Dunn (in his Dingo Flour t-shirt) on bass strumming in the direction of Dom Borzestowski on drums, who definitely did more than just keep time in each track; Jung Kim smashing it on keyboard, faced by Joji Manning on lead guitar; and Le’aupepe basically taking up the whole stage (plus the mosh pit if you include his stage dive); the band fed off each other to create one hell of a vibe.

The way Le’aupepe spoke to the crowd translated a desire to be exactly where he was.

He seemed to know exactly who he was talking to and just what to say to get the crowd inspired; which was made evident when he said, “We’re all just stumbling around in the dark eating a kebab.” That one seemed to resonate with a fair few people present.

“Freo is the most beautiful city the world,” Le’aupepe shouted to the crowd.

“And if you think I say that in every city, you are delusional because Freo is amazing.”

And I believe him, because Le’aupepe seems like a truly genuine guy who also makes great music.






Return to top