I’m pretty convinced that The Independent is the perfect venue. Small, but not cramped. The stage is raised just enough from the floor, the balconies are just wide enough. The production is good, the sound is perfect. It was the night before July 4th and the crowd small but spirited. (And by spirited, I mean shouting song-lyrics & addressing-band-members-by-name type of spirited.) It was clear that we were all thrilled to be there – we were among the lucky few that have already discovered the true beauty that is Young & Sick.
Young & Sick is a music and art project/entity/thing that is the brainchild of LA-based Nick Van Hofwegan. This long-haired, golden boy started Young & Sick as a design and art line. He has designed album covers for artists such as Maroon 5, Foster the People and Robin Thicke. In 2013, he expanded this creative venture to include original music production. Though the identity of the “band” was still taking shape, Young & Sick started performing live in early 2014. They even played Coachella (it was at like 1:00pm on Saturday though).
With several months of touring and a really solid self-titled album behind them, their sexy, soulful brand of alt-rock was in perfect tune. Their breezy sound adapts perfectly on stage; harmonies and layers are tight and distinct. Von Hofwegan’s voice is smooth as silk; he didn’t break for a second. He is totally front man material based on the following: long hair, plays barefoot, groovy moves, etc. Flawless.
Von Hofwegan was backed by a producer with several synths, a drummer and the occasional violin jam from the sexy back-up siren/piano player. It was very clear that they are all very talented musicians in their own right. Heavily produced tracks like “Continuum” and “Magnolia” translated beautifully live, the complex layers feeling very tangible and precise. Showing off their jazz chops with “Willow”, they took their time and let the melodies and riffs grow and build. By the time they broke out “Glass”, everybody was dancing. This is definitely their catchiest track, a good place to start if you’re a beginning to Young & Sick. The radio would love this one.
Each song was accompanied by a projection of an original piece of artwork by von Hofwegan. Each piece was unique in it’s own right, but there were aesthetic through lines in style and color. The joint effect was mesmerizing. It gave the performance and band a solid identity and character.
These West Coast darlings create music that is fun and catchy, but they boast the talent and creativity to back it up. They have several dates throughout the summer, but with the attention they’ve been garnering lately, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the tour extended. Or maybe another release (fingers crossed), who knows…
If you haven’t fully versed yourself in their material, do so without delay. They are the perfect summer groove to compliment your super chill lifestyle.