The Manchester band, WU LYF, debuts in the capital: “Four Kids Looking for a Place to Call Home”. By Massimiliano Mariantoni
Cemented windows. During the last five minutes, I’ve been observing a street behind Elephant and Castle tube station, questioning to myself whether anyone has ever called it home. The buildings are riddled with cemented windows and look quite barren. My thoughts quickly turn back to reality when the Corsica Studios doors open behind me. Tonight WU LYF (World United Lucifer Youth Foundation) are playing their London debut, (3 February 2011), and I’ve got a feeling this will be an echo night.
Open frontiers. I remember, it was January 2008 when (after receiving my degree) I moved from Rome to London. At university I had been studying the music business, and I thought London would be the perfect city to give me the tools to further my knowledge. Honestly, I was addicted to the British culture, and confident that I could find a place there, where my ideas would be shared, and not dismissed. Where I am from, some would say that music is an art “owned” by the industry, and its values become lost in entertainment. People outside of the industry are often excluded. I was looking for the music of the people- notes and melodies coming from the street, and that is where our tale begins.
London calling. WU LYF may have passed through London, but they seem to have been rejected by the media, being criticized because they are seen as hostile to the “system”. Currently, they’re travelling around Europe and the USA, supporting migrant friendly policies, and looking for a place to call home. Of course, you can object, arguing that pop music is not the best dimension in which to debate the migrant issue of the post-modern era. However, I personally believe that Londoners should consider this music as an extension of realpolitik, and maybe those cemented windows should be a home to those in need one more, instead of a barren building.
Once inside. I’m diving in the WU LYF dimension. The hall is dark and outrageous films, such as “The gig is 18+,” are being projected on the wall in front of the bar. A photography collage by Jonathan Flanders (another son of the foundation) enhances the stage area, catching the attention of the audience, as they wait for the new Manchester band. This is more like a “happening” than a gig!
Music speech. “LYF” and “Lucifer Calling” are opening the gig, but when WU LYF arrives onstage, the audience is succumbed by the latest sound effects and music. Ellery, Jeau, Lung, and Evans are surfing the same wave. In their notes, it is easy to pick out influences coming from all different genres; “post-punk” roots smoothly blend with blues melodies, as well as the “new sound.”
Everybody around me is becoming enlightened. My hypnotic status is tossed away by “Concrete Gold” and “Heavy Pop”; the web-leaked tracks that are defining the band as a “hip-band.” I take a breath. To get away any kind of bias I reset my approach. Only instinctive perceptions are now ferrying me over towards gig’s end. Getting out the place, the shouted words sung by Ellery begin to resound in my head. Historically, when people have been alienated by the times, shouting has seemed to be the only way to be heard. Musicians like Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, or later, the Sex Pistols, have all shouted their pains. WU LYF are shouting the pains of our times, and heavy- pop is the genre they call it.
Pop culture. To think music as an item, has made every song, album, or band into a barcode. Listening to music is growing distant from being a cultural experience, and becoming closer to another outlet for capitalism. Today, the music industry is a marketing machine that survives only by media and network recognition. When WU LYF arose as a non-profit organization, therefore, the system did not embrace them.
The band formed one year ago when, live from An Outlet, four “kids” from the Lucifer Youth Foundation (LYF - established in 1998) transformed their philosophy in music. Now more than 500 “young minds” are fighting what they called pop-apocalypse. Even though the band music has fascinated media and talent scouts, LYF remains unsigned. This is the only way to keep cultural independence and the “unconditioned truth.” I think, in order to get this credo universal, they need to fight the system from inside, and – maybe – the forthcoming self-produced album "Go Tell Fire"(13th June 2011), released worldwide by LYF Recording, would be the answer.
Established in 1998, The Lucifer Youth Foundation is a non-for-profit organization anchored to the concrete truths of unconditioned youth. The LYF encompases a selection of disciplines including petty crime, détourned design, dolla talk, busting heads, cutting film, scripting-ill literature and playing heavy (pop)