Live Review: Cassels + Youth Man at The Black Heart, Camden

Spending a week in a van with the same group of people travelling around the UK’s independent music venues can take its toll, and as exhilarating as the adrenaline burst of performing live every night can be, you can start to miss the small comforts of home.  “I miss socks,” proclaims Kaila Whyte, Youth Man‘s frenetic frontwoman.  “You know, being able to choose whichever pair of socks you want to wear instead of just the ones you brought with you.”

Tonight is the penultimate show of a double-headline tour with Cassels that started a week ago in Newcastle and rounds off tomorrow in Youth Man’s hometown of Birmingham.  Aside from some ill-judged references in Southampton to neighbouring rival city Portsmouth, it seems to have gone well, with both bands sporting matching crocodile tour tattoos.

Hosiery issues aside, Youth Man are in their element in front of a busy crowd between the pitch-black walls of this Camden venue, ripping through a ferocious set of blistering punk rock.  Forthcoming single ‘I Don’t Know’ is a particular highlight, its chugging main riff bringing to mind what Elastica might have sounded like if they’d been less concerned about looking cool and just concentrated on rocking the fuck out.

Cassels‘ Jim Beck has also been feeling the effects of touring life, “I’ve learned that I’m not quite as rock & roll as I thought – I need my eight and half hours.”  There’s no sign of the sleep deprivation affecting their set though, with songs from their recent debut album Epithet mixed in with older favourites.  Theirs is an intelligent post-punk sound that plays with space and is absolutely unafraid of confronting issues both personal and political – set closing ‘Coolbox’, with its blunt portrayal of a real-life incident of domestic violence being a stunning and rightly uncomfortable example.

Show finished it’s back to the van for one more show and dreams of a fresh pair of socks and a proper lie-in.

Review and Photography by Paul Maps /

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