The Young Art Live

The Young Art album launch

The Young Art launch their new album at the Tanks, Jackson Niehaus investigates..

If you were looking for some young local talent on Friday night, the Tanks were the place to be; The Tanks Unplugged was taken over by The Young Art for the launch of their debut album, with the Montgomery Brothers and Jayden Reid rounding out the line-up.

Jayden Reid began the night with a solo interpretation of an Angus and Julia Stone song, making great use of a looping pedal to fill the room with a mellow groove and set the feel for the rest of the night. After deciding could use some accompaniment for the next few songs, he called a few ‘members of the audience’ onto the stage to play the rest of his set with him. These very randomly selected audience members turned out to be two of Jayden’s The Young Art bandmates, which was just as well considering the remainder of the set were his own originals. The performance was tight and the songs themselves were well-written and easy to listen to; he has a knack for writing, with a consistent style. If light-hearted indie-pop/rock tinged with folk is your thing, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on Jayden Reid into the future.

Following a short interval, the Montgomery Brothers took to the stage, bringing with them a smooth jazz groove. At the moment the name “Montgomery Brothers” actually refers to a four-piece featuring one Montgomery, but regardless of the etymology of the name, they sure know how to put on a show. Several jazz numbers got lots of feet tapping, and a few people wishing there weren’t chairs where there might instead have been a dance floor. As one might expect of a guitarist having supported the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Ryo Montgomery demonstrated impressive mastery of the fretboard while Harry Moss provided more melody; sometimes with his saxophone, sometimes with his voice. Of course, the rhythm section was not to be overlooked, holding it all together with ease. The whole set was extremely polished, testament to the professionalism of this outfit. A sudden change of pace came with the last song of their set, when a cajon and ukulele appeared. About halfway through the Latin-American flavoured tune that ensued, it became apparent that even more diversity in percussion was needed and the drummer began taking to pretty much everything within arm’s reach with his drumsticks. Thankfully that didn’t include the crowd themselves, but when the whole band jumped into the audience, chairs and beer bottles became worthy instruments. It was a nice touch of theatre, completing an altogether enjoyable performance.

The Young Art has built up quite a following among the Cairns youth, and there was no shortage of fans there on Friday night to be part of the launch of their album. They have supported acts like Wolfmother, Eskimo Joe and Birds of Tokyo, and they showed exactly why the big names chose them. There is way more than just technical talent in this band; they can write well, and judging by Friday night, they know how to get the crowd into it. Several instrumentation changes added flair and variety to the performance – frontman Sony Sando at one point switched a guitar for a bass for a few songs. There were a few technical issues along the way, but if they boys were in any way phased by this, they didn’t let it show at all, showing their grit as real performers. Going to a young band’s CD launch, you’d expect quite a polished show. You’d hope the band was looking to impress and was going to convince you to buy their album. Was The Young Art successful? I’d say they definitely were, and judging by the substantial line-up at the merchandise area after the show, I’d go as far as to say a fair few people might agree with me.

The gig on the whole was of the fun, accessible kind that you, as part of the crowd, can truly get involved in. While there’s no doubt most bands would certainly like to play to a sold-out stadium crowd of a hundred thousand people, the intimate atmosphere of such a gig at a venue like the Tanks is arguably just as good, and it’s one reason the local music scene is such a great thing to be part of. If there was one theme to the whole night, it was that there is a great depository of talent – especially young talent – in Cairns right now. For The Young Art, Friday night’s album launch is quite a milestone, and one they should be congratulated on. With their eyes set on a tour down the east coast, there’s a solid chance we – and the rest of Australia – will be hearing more from these guys soon.

– Jackson Niehaus

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