In July this year, Gang of Youths took to Melbourne’s Meat Market to welcome MTV’s seminal Unplugged programme to our shores for the first time, performing songs from their sophomore album Go Farther in Lightness.
Some bands make a concise effort to replicate their recorded songs live on stage, but there is an inescapably raw and sometimes tribal feeling that accompanies this Sydney five-piece live – which is translated into this engrossing recording of the MTV event.
The stage, adorned with over 1200 red roses – an homage to Nirvana’s historic 1993 Unplugged performance – played host to a beautifully stripped-back performance free of pretension. Front man Dave Le’aupepe led proceedings with Let Me Down Easy, accompanied by strings and brass section, before the rest of the band launched into Fear and Trembling and album highlight The Heart Is a Muscle – the latter being the last song written for GFIL and a dedication to Le’aupepe’s father.
The album includes intimate pre-song moments like Le’aupepe’s touching introduction to and performance of Persevere, which he did alone on-stage at his piano – a sombre, beautiful moment of unadulterated reflection. Still Unbeaten Life from 2016’s Let Me Be Clear EP may seem an obscure for a closing track given the band’s glittering back catalogue, but it was a stirring choice, closing the set full of kindness and hope.
Gang of Youths: MTV Unplugged – Live in Melbourne is out October 26 via Sony.
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