Youth Lagoon keeps things covert at Chicago show

By Dana Getz

On Wednesday night’s concert at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, psych pop solo act Youth Lagoon let his music do the talking. The 24-year-old singer/producer—otherwise known as Trevor Powers—shied away from the small venue’s typically intimate setting, opting for a shadowy show with minimal conversation.

After a near half hour delay Powers took to the stage at last, kicking off his set with “Afternoon,” a sing-songy fan favorite with delicate whistles and synths and a 4/4 marching drum. He continued into an uninterrupted mix of old and new, blending the tracks into an indistinct mash of hushed electro ballads and haunting atmospheric swells.

Hunched over his keyboard in a focused trance, Powers’ performance exuded a near dream-like state. Soft, simple colors illuminated the backdrop as Powers’ mop of curly hair flopped over his half-hidden face, his faded falsetto echoing tenderly throughout the room. The soft-spoken singer remained tight-lipped for the majority of the show, not warming to the audience until the latter half of his set. When he did open his mouth, Powers was surprisingly witty, lightheartedly mocking a concertgoer who urged him to pound his drink. “Pound it? You bro. What are you drinking, Smirnoff? You didn’t think I’d talk to you, did you? No one ever does.” He then briefly introduced a song written for his mother entitled “17,” a keyboard-heavy ode detailing the nostalgia of youthful imagination.

The following songs morphed into a disarray of subdued psychedelic jams that dipped into hypnotic lulls then built to moments of chaos and grandeur. Ending the show with an abrupt “Chicago, thank you so much,” Powers then exited the theatre with a series of hand-blown kisses, disappearing backstage as quietly as he’d come.