Describing the Young Empires performance at the Metro in one word is impossible. Two words is still difficult, but let’s go with “fucking breathtaking.” The fusion of tribal with electronic and synth with guitar – all washed over expertly by voices that you want to fall asleep to – will make you fall in love with this band.
At first glance, the stage looks like a gutted Guitar Center – filled with enough equipment for at least a ten piece band. Given the grandiose, larger than life sound that Young Empires is known for, this doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But then only three guys walk out on stage like they just walked onto a runway at a fashion show and the magic of Young Empires really starts to set in.
Performing like an unmedicated group of ADHD poster boys, no one in the band stands still for more than five seconds. Somehow, they manage to all do fifteen different things at the same time without seeming spastic or disjointed. In the middle of manning a laptop and dropping synth beats, Aaron swings his axe around like a damn barbarian. Jake fingers the fret board on his bass while whispering sweet nothings into the microphone. Matt makes love to the microphone – and the audience – while simultaneously pounding digital ivory.
Everything about the performance is organic. There’s no necessary eye contact to make sure they’re all on the same page. There’s no checking footing or fingering because each one of them operates with such proficiency that their instruments are extensions of their bodies. Nothing is forced, everything just works. It’s transcendent.
As they sing that, “It takes a thousand miles to reach the stars tonight,” I can’t help but feeling like that’s total bullshit. At the Metro, all you needed was an extended arm.