Though already an established, widely successfully, chart-topping, and award winning act in their native Australia, thanks to two strong records in just a three year span, eclectic, high-flying, and poignant rockers Gang of Youths have had their biggest year yet stateside, as last year’s sophomore LP Go Farther in Lightness, continues to propel them to a wider international stage. After making their Music City debut back in the spring, the band are set to return for an even bigger headliner tonight, Dec. 4, when they stop through to play The Basement East with another great Australian up and comer, indie pop singer Gretta Ray. Tickets to this buzzy outing are still available here, so snag yours now and read on for more about the show!
GANG OF YOUTHS
Hailing officially from Sydney, Australia (though made up of members from a variety of nations around the Oceanic region and beyond, with even more diverse cultural heritage), Gang of Youths first met though evangelical mega church Hillsong (despite not being a “Christian band”) and came together in 2012, forging their sound from early influences like U2, Leonard Cohen, the Replacements, and Sonic Youth. The young rockers found swift success in their home country, soon opening for acts like Vampire Weekend, Manchester Orchestra, Foster the People, and Frightened Rabbit, though a string of early tragedy and darkness plaguing singer David Le’aupepe- his former wife’s cancer diagnosis (which she eventually beat), the dissolution of their marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, attempted suicide, and the balance of life and increasing fame- created a hurdle that his bandmates helped him see trough, eventually funneling the emotion and fallout into the group’s acclaimed debut LP, The Positions, which landed on the Australian charts and earned the band awards nominations. While it took a few years to find an audience in the U.S. and beyond, thanks to Gang of Youths’ honed, eclectic, and larger-than-life style and personal, literary, and bombastic lyrical prowess, they’ve began to attract global attention since the release of last year’s excellent sophomore album, Go Farther in Lightness, which sees the group’s sound become more focused, mature, and widely accessible. The record earned them multiple ARIA awards (Australia’s Grammy equivalent), including Album of the Year, and since a buzzy SXSW appearance, U.S. television debut on Seth Meyers, and increasingly lauded club runs stateside, they’ve become a breakthrough act in America as well. The fact that they bowed at The Basement back in the spring, and return for a second time this year to headline the larger Basement East should be a testament to Gang of Youths’ swift rise, so if they haven’t yet landed on your radar, give this excellent band a spin, then see what they’re all about in person!
Also hailing from Australia, indie pop singer Gretta Ray is making waves stateside as well, and even has a Music City connection thanks to her work with Nashville-based, Australian producer Josh Barber. Ray began singing at a young age, and toured with Young Voices of Melbourne and If You See Her, Say Hello, before winning a national competition, Triple J Unearthed High, for emerging new artists thanks to her buzzy early single “Drive,” as well as the prestigious Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition. Her debut EP, Elsewhere, arrived in 2016, when Ray was only 18 years old, and she spent the subsequent two years and increasing wave of praise and international buzz funneling her life experience and artistic sensibility into an even better followup, this year’s Here and Now. Much more of an indie pop rooted singer-songwriter than Gang of Youths’ rock and roll bombast, Gretta Ray is nonetheless an artist you should be keeping an eye on, and a very good reason to arrive early.
Gang of Youths and Gretta Ray will perform tonight, Dec. 4 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $20.