By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Live Review: YUNGBLUD with the Regrettes and Sophie Powers-Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, FL-June 27, 2023
On a Tuesday night, which is usually an ‘off night’ for concerts, we could hear the music blaring from Jannus Live down to the car park. Upon arrival at the show around 8 p.m., the venue, essentially a courtyard between several buildings, was buzzing with a mass of people listening to one of the support acts, Sophie Powers. She was a bundle of energy on stage as she belted out songs, tossed her hair, and got the audience hand-waving.
The crowd was almost as enjoyable to watch as the show. I noticed a mother holding the hand of a pint-sized boy with moussed-up burgundy hair. The back of his shirt read, “This is my 5th birthday.” The 20-something crowd mainly consisted of females, many wearing pink, checkerboard, and black YUNGBLUD-inspired outfits. A couple near the front of the crowd wrapped the rainbow and transgender pride flags around their bodies. Others were in line at the merch table to buy t-shirts with the phrase “Be Yourself or Die Trying.” Yours truly couldn’t resist purchasing one.
Los Angeles punk band the Regrettes performed a 30-minute set which was very well-received. While crowding near the front of the barricades, the audience sang along with the songs and bounced up and down. By this time, it was standing room only, and the humidity was almost unbearable. The air was stagnant. A couple of people in the middle of the crowd fainted, and security quickly ushered them to safety. Welcome to outdoor concerts in Florida—it rains or feels like a sauna.
As the music techs set up the drums and equipment, I stood by the stage, waiting for the headline act. People pressed against the barricades held signs like “You saved my life” and other messages of adoration. There was a very positive atmosphere, a sense of community, and a spiritual feeling; to many, the show was more than a concert. It was something more significant. Yungblud’s lyrics are raw and honest, striking a chord with many of his “followers.” Several times the crowd broke into a chant, beckoning him to come on stage, “YUNGBLUD, YUNGBLUD!”
At 9:30 p.m., the stage was filled with bellows of white smoke and a red aura as YUNGBLUD pranced to the front of the stage, singing “superdeadfriends.” With his jet-black hair and sparkling eyes, he could be the bastard child of Gary Numan. He was dressed in black pants which said “I’m a low life” on a leg and a hand-written note pinned to his chest with safety pins. I later saw in the photos it was almost a journal saying, “I’m depressed today. I just want you to know I’m barely coping.”
He leapt and danced frenetically, quickly working up a sweat as the crowd went wild. A few crowd-surfed to the venue’s front and security assisted them over the barricades. YUNGBLUD was smiling and showing gratitude as his “disciples” sang to every song, jumped on command, and repeated “call-response lyrics” on command. He had them in the palm of his hand.
YUNGBLUD tossed bottled water to the crowd (as did security) since the outdoor temperature was staggering. At one point, he stepped off the stage, walked through the crowd, made his way against the wall, and finally settled near the merch booth. He continued singing “Fleabag” as the raucous crowd chanted. YUNGBLUD was clearly having a great time and was inspired by the showing of St. Petersburg’s love.
At another point in the show, he pointed to a female in the audience, who was quickly ushered up on stage. He asked her (and the audience) to help choose the next song. He asked, “Medication” or California.” The audience roared when “California” was announced.
The set was brought to a slower pace (and a much-needed break) as YUNGBLUD played his guitar and sang the poignant song, “Casual Sabotage.” One could hear the pain and emotion in his voice—and a few visible tears were observed in the audience as he sang, “I’m just a messed up kid/With sewn up lips/I can’t take this shit/I need to exist.”
The party resumed with “Sex Without Violence” and “Lowlife.” During the evening, an audience member handed him the Pride Flag, which he waved on stage while singing. Honestly, seeing YUNGBLUD’s show was my favorite of the year. This evening was what a show should be—frenetic energy, love for the audience, and killer music.
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