Sometimes, the small, obsessive compositions some musicians create in the tiny space of their bedrooms should just stay there. Youth Lagoon — the meandering electronic indie flux of Trevor Powers — is one project that probably should have remained a direct-from-laptop-to-Pitchfork release, based on a vapid performance Thursday night at the Bluebird Theater.
Joined by touring guitarist Logan Hyde, Powers played a 50-minute set of ambient bedroom pop that was almost overwhelmed by a fog machine. Powers’ falsetto was juxtaposed by his hunched torso, recalling Peanuts’ Schroeder — an image that was reinforced by nearly unintelligible mumblings between tunes.
Powers didn’t make any friends when he remarked with a little evident snark, “We’re sorry your state is burning,” either. The quip was too flippant too soon, and pretty unforgivable — even for a young 20-something. The duo forged its way through a good portion of its eight-song-record, touching on “Cannons,” “Afternoon” and the obligatory “Montana” before closing up pretty early.
Opener Father John Misty, on the other hand, performed a short, brilliantly comic set before YL claimed the stage. Misty — moniker for Josh Tillman, most recently known for drumming in Fleet Foxes — played a rousing, hilarious set of folky heartbreak accompanied only by his acoustic. He reduced the already sparse, beautiful anthems from his current record down to melodic moonshine, interspersed with self-deprecating, almost inebriated commentary that aroused the growing crowd.
Clear highlights were the vitriolic and hilarious “Only Son of the Ladiesman” and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” though Tillman briefly upstaged them with a brilliant diatribe on the the bible as it relates to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. He majestically weaved a litany of double standards and fear of “funny stuff” between Jesus and John the Baptist into “Everyman Needs A Companion,” and the crowd was his.
Ty Hyten is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.