Scottsdale’s Pub Rock transformed from its usual dive bar aesthetic into a blinding burst of pink on Friday. YUNGBLUD’s 21st Century Liability Tour stormed into Arizona and tore the roof off.
New Heat opened the packed show for their debut live performance. The Phoenix duo of Austin Jones and Chris Crimmins performed unreleased material, along with their debut singles “PageUp” and “Why You So Ready to Die.” Jones’ vocals perfectly complemented Crimmins’ energy as they switched stage positions for the band’s keyboard-driven songs. The fans were already sold, singing the words to the new songs for a memorable first show.
Fresh from their recent tour, Valley rockers Rival Coast were up next. Despite less frequent local performances, the band’s electronic-influenced sound had the crowd jumping. Fan-favorite “Pixelated” closed the enjoyable set.
Arrested Youth, led by Kentucky native Ian Johnson, wasted no time in pumping up the energy levels. Reminiscent of twenty one pilots-equse rap-rock, Arrested Youth leaned on backing tracks to boost their sound. The audience loved Johnson and his live band, though, screaming when the shirts came off and pushing forward to grab his hand. Johnson’s music is influenced by his brief time working a high level job in corporate America and he referenced his discontent throughout the set. “All My Friends are Robots” hammered the message home as the band closed their energetic set.
There isn’t another artist out right now that’s quite like YUNGBLUD (real name Dominic Harrison). The England native’s wild, uninhibited stage presence was, as he says in his bio, like dropping a grenade on his audience. Dressed in his signature pink and black, he adorned the club stage with bright pink tape, large backdrop and even a robotic TV streaming the static he’s trying to break through with his music.
Having listened to YUNGBLUD’s recorded music prior to the show, it’s absolutely not an exaggeration to say that his live set blows that out of the water. He’s the happiest performer I’ve ever seen, his grin only getting wider as the night went on. He adores his fans, singing to and for them as they fed into his energy with their worship.
The crowd sang every single word and the energy levels never dipped. Songs like “Kill Somebody”, “I Love You, Will You Marry Me” and “21st Century Liability” made the floor shake. Pub Rock’s stage was YUNGBLUD’s runway as he pranced, stomped and preened up and down in front of a crowd that spent the entire set trying to get as close as possible to their idol.
“I fuckin’ love you all!” was the mantra of the night. A rare performance of “Doctor Doctor” brought out YUNGBLUD’s cheeky flamboyant side as he channeled the spirit of Gerard Way with his onstage antics.
After a sprint to the finish, YUNGBLUD and co. came back for a two-song encore that included the stellar “Die for the Hype.” His sound is both gritty and doused in glitter, alternating between playing raucous guitar and getting right up in the faces of his audience.
Like so many artists, it’s so hard to describe the vibe of a show without being there and with YUNGBLUD, it’s nearly impossible. He left the stage covered in sweat to meet his equally exhausted and euphoric fans. Everyone in the room couldn’t help matching YUNGBLUD’s maniacal grin. He wrote out countless tattoos, took photos with everyone fan and we all went home spent and completely thrilled.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel