Wu Lyf live review

Joanna Eckersley is mystified by the theatrics of up-and-coming band Wu Lyf, but they're obviously doing something right

There’s something about the way the name comes out, sort of high pitched. Say “Wu Lyf” and you can’t help but sound like you’re a young man going through puberty. This was what initially aroused my suspicions as I walked to the Kazimier, an enigmatic hexagonal venue tucked away in Liverpool’s back streets.

The band’s full name is World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation. But don’t fear: this isn’t the second coming of the Third Reich. As their website states: “WU LYF is nothing.” Phew. That’s a relief. But why then all the drama?

The band are managed by former Factor Records man Warren Bramley, whose creative agency now numbers Adidas among its clients. This might explain why they look like they’ve been running through Urban Outfitters getting snagged on the rails. But according to the band the music, films and artwork are all their own.

Which suggests that the costumes – the Fred Durst-style backwards red baseball cap, the Wu Lyf branded denim jacket, with buttons that popped open to reveal a bare chest from time to time – were also authentic Wu Lyf.

Sounding something like Kings of Leon, with a touch of the Macabees and a fair dab of Arcade Fire, Wu Lyf are definitely worth listening to. The vocals are so low the words are often indiscernible; songs that begin with the melodic sound of church organs peter out to white noise. The overall effect could be described as post-rock, or post-indie.

Standing near the back at the start of ‘Lyf’s set, audience members were treated to the sound of baying wolves from four “fans”. Those who didn’t find this suspicious may have also missed the same characters wildly gesticulate at the band before walking to the front of the stage and consequently storming the stage.

The result was an almost empty dance floor and a stage packed out by the crowd who were all singing lyrics, with plastic cups flying, dousing everyone in lager. The onstage audience were quite clearly delighted by the show, but for those who like to separate the art of theatre from that of music, the whole thing was a bit uncomfortable.

As a “youth foundation”, Wu Lyf also happily admit to “auxiliary” members, so the performance perhaps should have been expected. The frontman of the band is clearly proud of the mystique they create, “We’re pretty ‘on-it’ kids,” he recently told the Guardian. As long as the band are prepared to sacrifice a few more mature fans along the way, Wu Lyf’s unorthodox methods will most likely keep them “on it” and selling out the next venue near you.

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