I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect seeing Youth Of Today play Union Transfer for Day 1 of the annual Philly fest: This Is Hardcore. Youth Of Today, along with Gorilla Biscuits were one of the most influential hardcore bands of their time, and with people in the audience ranging from 18 to well into their 40s and 50s, it’s clear they’ve left a legacy. I’ve been listening to them for many years and never got to see them, but wasn’t sure if it would be an explosive, energetic set or more of a nostalgia act since they officially disbanded back in 1990 with the occasional reunion show.
Union Transfer was pretty packed out when Youth Of Today were setting up, and the place waited in anticipation as they took the stage and… worked through amp issues for the a decent amount of time. But once they finally got that working, HOLY SHIT. With the opening of two chords and vocalist Ray shouting “We’re back!” in unison with the crowd, the place immediately erupted into a barrage of stage dives and a pit as they ripped through “Flame Still Burns”. Doubts anyone may have had about them slowing down in their old age were put to rest with Ray running and jumping all over the stage, constantly getting pounced and piled on by the crowd.
Musically the band sounded tight as ever, not missing a beat throughout their energetic set. Ray joked with the crowd, talking about how he and other members have children of their own now and how they would never let their kids near any of us in the hardcore scene. Preaching about positive change, how everyone wants everything to change, but no one wants to change themselves, the band also touched upon Hare Krishna without ever directly mentioning it with universal principles such as love for all beings including people, animals, and trees.
Ripping through plenty from all of their releases, there was never a dull moment… whether it was the constant pit, the non-stop flips in the crowd, and Ray keeping things interesting on stage with yoga poses before jumping right back into the thick of things.
Seriously, this Youth Of Today set was one of the best and fun hardcore shows I’ve been to in recent memory. If you’re lucky enough to have them play near you, definitely go.
Flame Still Burns
Take A Stand
Make A Change
Put It Aside
Can’t Close My Eyes
Youth Of Today
A Time We’ll Remember
Free At Last
Break Down The Walls