YUNGBLUD Throws A Free Street Party In Camden Town | Live Review

London, Camden Market, 18 March 2024

Image credit: Tom Pallant

The streets of Camden Town are paved with culture. For years, it has been a home and a pilgrimage for all who have found who they are through an alternative lens. Though the shopfronts may have changed and the smells coming from the market’s food section have gone viral, at its core, it’s still a place where everybody, no matter what, can feel welcome.

It’s why YUNGBLUD has always resonated with the place. Despite his roots in Doncaster, Camden High Street has become his second home. As his plight for world domination has picked up speed, it’s also become a home base for The Black Hearts Club. Where in the past people would hope to catch sight of everyone from The Clash and The Sex Pistols to Pete Doherty and Liam Gallagher, now they stick their head into The Hawley Arms and hope to see a pair of pink socks and creepers propped up on a table. It was also the perfect place to make his most incredible announcement yet.

Image credit: Tom Pallant

Dom first asked a week ago if everybody was ready for the next big thing. Building up by highlighting some of the fantastic things he has achieved over the last half-a-decade with his community alongside him, he then revealed a location for everyone to meet at 5pm sharp. That location was within the Camden Market amphitheatre, found between the neon glow of Cyberdog and the beautiful bronze Amy Winehouse statue. By 4pm, it is heaving. Everybody and their dog (quite literally, thanks to a Shiba Inu being held high so they could see what was going on) had found their way to this particular corner of London to be a part of a major moment. How many artists would genuinely be able to bring 3,000 people together at the click of their fingers? That’s a community in action. A culture, bottled.

When YUNGBLUD finally takes to the stage, the sheer disbelief on their face of what they had put together is palpable. Screaming into the mic, This is fucking history. This is what happens when you start a fucking movement”, you would be hard-pressed to disagree. Such a gathering of like-minded and passionate individuals in such an iconic space is the sort of thing people talk about for years to come. The fact Dom has built it from the ground up makes it all the sweeter. Then as he asks, “Now, are you ready for what’s next?” the reason we are all here is revealed. The poster for BLUDFEST, a brand new one-day festival curated by the man himself, is hoisted like a flag, a banner that represents what happens when you keep on pushing and not let anyone tell you that you can’t. A new place for this family to thrive.

What follows is a chaotic half-hour featuring some of YUNGBLUD’s greatest hits. The sultry smacks of ‘strawberry lipstick’ sound utterly massive in these surroundings, as does the flamboyant darkness of ‘The Funeral’. Making his way off the stage between tracks to personally say hello to everybody who has made the trip, Dom leaps and bounds around the area he has effectively taken over. There are hugs, selfies, quick conversations and dreams coming true in real-time without ever skipping a beat. It makes such a vast event feel personal and wonderfully intimate, a reminder that everyone here is as vital to this as the last, and they deserve to be acknowledged. Yes, even the Shiba Inu.

Spending so much time on the road over the last few years has meant the performance is utterly stunning despite the unorthodox setting. A rare playthrough of the OG classic ‘I Love You, Will You Marry Me’ sounds even more rambunctious and cheeky and ‘fleabag’ hits like several freight trains at once. There are arms waved, feet off the ground and singalongs that send shivers down the spine. However, in the closing singalong of ‘Loner’, things take on an even more poignant tone than they were already at.

Image credit: Tom Pallant

A song about remembering who you are despite being in such an incredible position because of the people who have supported him throughout the years, it feels like a perfect culmination of what this moment means. We are all dealing with our own shit on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have people there to hold us up when we fall.

We can truly do whatever we want in this life because even if it doesn’t feel like it, there’s a community around us that will propel us forward. We may feel lonely, but we are never truly alone, not when we are a part of something as special as this. This intersection of culture, meeting in a place where legends have cut their teeth and cemented their status, feels as timeless as it does timely; a moment that serves as a reminder that anything is possible as long as we are together.

YUNGBLUD has always been more than just music. It’s a state of mind. An identity. A safe place and a solace for those who feel like they don’t belong anywhere else. YUNGBLUD as a collective has been able to do some unbelievable things, but with the prospect of BLUDFEST hitting up Milton Keynes this summer, and what that could become on a worldwide scale, it has all just been the tip of the iceberg.

For now, though, the fact Dominic Harrison from Doncaster brought Camden Market to a standstill on a Monday in March is about as historic as it gets. Now, see you at the Hawley for a swift one, yeah?

More like this