The 2,700-person-capacity venue filled up, slowly but surely, with fans of all ages. Being that Youngblood Hawke is only a little over a year old, it was obvious that a majority of the people in attendance were there for Keane. This didn’t slow down Youngblood Hawke one bit.
The sextet from Los Angeles started their opening set with a bang; literally. All five members took to whatever drum they could find and went ape shit. They instantly had the attention of everyone in the room and as they finished their drum opening, they jumped into “Rootless,” the fourth track on their self-titled EP that was released last year. Long-haired frontman Sam Martin’s energy was infectious as he danced his way from one end of the stage to the other during each song.
Along with playing the four tracks on their EP, Youngblood Hawke played five tracks that may be featured on their debut full-length that is in the works. Throughout their nine-song set, Martin complimented our beloved Austin and praised the fans for their warm welcoming. Youngblood Hawke’s debut single, “We Come Running,” was a crowd favorite and had people in the pit, and even in the balcony, dancing about.
Earlier that day, the band held a free in-store performance at Waterloo Records that I was fortunate to catch. There were obvious differences between their acoustic set and their live set, but it showed that the band’s sound was versatile. If fun. and MGMT had a love child at an indie rock concert, Youngblood Hawke would be that baby.
They closed their set after a little over 40 minutes with “Glacier,” and round two of drumming, ape shit madness. They definitely left the stage with a batch of new fans. While they might not be as polished as the bands that they open for, they are well on their way to being a new act to watch out for in 2013.
As the stage was being setup for Keane, the buzz between concertgoers grew louder in anticipation of the band’s performance. It was apparent that Keane has a dedicated following that began when they released their 2004 hit album, Hopes And Fears. Hit is an understatement when your album jumps to the top of the U.K. album charts during the week of its release. Like any other group, Keane underwent changes throughout their eight years as a band. But it seems that they are finally back at that sound that made their fans fall in love with them in the first place.
The lights came down inside of ACL Live and Keane began their set with a track from their most recent album, Strangeland. The crowd came alive when they began to play “Bend and Break,” a favorite from their first album. Throughout their set, they kept things consistent and played tracks from almost all of their albums. As a new fan of Keane, my personal favorite part of the show was when they took to the slower songs and when lead singer Tom Chaplin took to the keyboard as well. Chaplin has a voice that makes you wonder if he can hit those notes live as well as he hits them on the album. After hearing him sing “She Has No Time” and “A Bad Dream,” there’s no doubt that his voice still resonates through my mind.
As expected, Keane chose two strong tracks from their freshman album to wrap up their show. Fans sang along to “This is the Last Time” as Chaplin trotted across the stage, occasionally exclaiming, “alright, people of AUSTIN!” The track that really brought the house down was “Somewhere Only We Know.” No voice went unheard in that room as Chaplin pointed his microphone at the crowd during the chorus. At the end of the song, what seemed like the entire balcony gave Keane a standing ovation as they played “Bedshaped” from Hopes And Fears, another great singalong. The band exited but the crowd wasn’t convinced. Screams for an encore continued until the trio came out for three more songs which included two tracks from the new album and ended with “Crystal Ball” from Under the Iron Sea.
After seeing Keane live, it is obvious that they have kept the essence of their group strong. Their set at ACL Live was the perfect blend of where they started and where they’re going now.
Check out photos of Youngblood Hawke by our photographer Mary Rehak below.