There was an obvious theme in Wednesday night’s lineup: youth. Not only was it in each band’s names, but also in their music and stage presence. Young Magic boggled the minds of the sold out Echo with their experimental brand of electro-pop. Led by the mysteriously low-profile multi-instrumentalist, Isaac Emmanuel, the Australia-via-New-York outfit turned the concrete floors of the small Echo Park venue into one big dance party. The only standard instruments on stage were a tom drum and guitar, most of the sound came from Emmanuel’s sample machine and lap top, with percussionist Michael Italia banging on both his tom and an electric drum machine.
The band was glowing while each member immerged themselves into the music and watched as the audience became entranced by the bleeps and bloops coming from the stage. This show marked the collective’s first show in Los Angeles, and every time Emmanuel spoke into his microphone in his adorable Aussie accent, his gratefulness was apparent. Though the band has yet to record a full-length record, Emmanuel has released two 7” singles in the past year that were recorded in his portable studio in different locales around the world, from Berlin to Melbourne to Iceland, and are part of a grandiose LP that is slated for a 2012 release.
He played both of these expansive, breathtaking singles during the abridged, 30-minute set. The first song, “You With Air,” got the crowd moving with its primal, tribal percussion and male/female harmonious wails, and the next, “Night in the Ocean,” showed a softer side of the eccentric band, with reverbed waves of guitar and a ballad-like harmony between Emmanuel and guitarist Melati Malay calming the audience before the trio exited the stage. As soon as Young Magic finished, a crowd of people swarmed the merch table to purchase the singles and give the up-and-coming musicians well-deserved praise.
Trevor Powers, a.k.a. Youth Lagoon, ended the night with his lo-fi, keyboard-based songs of nostalgia and growing up. The 22-year-old musician’s pale, acne-ridden complexion bared no resemblance to his powerful vocal cords. As he pounded away on his keyboard and belted out lyrics to his buzzworthy songs, it was hard to believe that this kid has been dealing with extreme anxiety for his whole life. Even when he spoke of his mental condition to the sold out crowd, his voice was strong and confident, and when he played, his energy was electrifying, which transferred to the audience, mesmerized by the power of the meek, young musician’s gigantic sound. It was a night to remember, and when the curtain fell and the audience left the club, everyone walked to their cars grinning like children.