Photos by Ashleigh Graybill
Written by Carmen Mueller
On October 18, 2018, the rebel-with-a-cause Yungblud played at Subterranean in Chicago, Illinois, along with their incredible supporting act Arrested Youth. Both of these acts put on one of the best shows I have ever seen and rocked the completely sold out venue with an ungodly amount of charisma and energy. The 21st Century Liability Tour is a must see, and here’s why.
The Kentucky native, Ian Johnson, also known as Arrested Youth, is a force to be reckoned with. Not only are his songs incredibly relatable for young adults and their doubts, but he’s the everyday man who decided that following his passions was far more important than being a chess piece in someone else’s game. With songs like “Mirrors”, “Black X White”, “A Painting in Paris” and “Vans”, he put on a show that not only impressed everyone in the room, but also said something important. He challenges conformity, vanity, and corrupt political systems while speaking up about mental health and self-acceptance. Pair that with his right hand men Gavin Gottlich on the drums and Aaron Shadrow on the guitar and you have a kickass show. With a sound that reminded me of Hoodie Allen mixed with The Neighborhood and a performance that screamed Twenty One Pilots, I found that this is an artist you have to see in person. And who knows, Ian may even crowd surf on you, too.
Following Arrested Youth was our dearly beloved Yungblud, Dominic Harrison, who put on an incredible show despite having broken his ankle on the tour. He had the time of his life hobbling on stage, getting rolled around on stage in his pink wheelchair, and leaning on the fans for literal support. Even though it’s nearly impossible to put Yungblud in a box, he exemplifies what it means to push the boundaries and step on people’s toes like any great rock star would. Dom has absolutely no issue with kissing his guitarist Adam Warrington, throwing his guitar into the crowd of screaming fans, and raging out on stage. But it’s not only the way he performs that gets everyone pumped for his show, it’s the fact that he isn’t afraid to battle difficult topics in his songs and being a political figure. He challenges gentrification in “Tin Pan Boy”, advocates for mental healthcare in “Medicine”, and condemns gun violence in “Machine Gun (F**k the NRA). But there’s a sweet side of Yungblud as well; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house for “Polygraph Eyes”, a song that brings awareness to sexual assault survivors and rape culture. During his performance of “Kill Somebody” everyone in the venue held up lights to bring a little bit of brightness to a song that displays some of Yungblud’s darkest demons. It was hard to not feel connected to everyone in the room, and like Dom said, “This is a fucking family”. But Yungblud is not merely an entertainer; he’s a fantastic role model and gives a voice to so many young people who often feel undermined and overlooked. For example, “Psychotic Kids” is a tongue and cheek track that pokes fun at how older people can condescend younger people and their opinions. And this kind of message is something that a lot of people can relate to, especially younger adults who are trying to navigate who they are and how they are going to make their mark in a world that tries to shut them down.
There is not enough words to describe the kind of impact Yungblud has on his adoring fans; but if I were to think of one defining aspect of his performance it would have to be just how much happiness he brings everyone. Yungblud’s overwhelming warmth and positivity created a safe haven for every single person in that room and reminded me that people like Dom are perfect examples of the power young people and how impactful they can be. He’s just a ball of light that made me smile so much that my face hurt.
Overall, this show has everything you could want; incredible messages, loving performers, and a strong sense of community. From Arrested Youth’s bombastic performance and Yungblud’s booming presence, it’s a show that’ll leave you feeling empowered, emotional, and happy as hell. There are only a few tour dates left for them in the US so I strongly recommend that you see a show if you still can. Yungblud’s 21st Century Liability is out everywhere along with Arrested Youth’s record Fear. Check them out!