The Brazen Youth deliver passion at Purgatory

The Brazen Youth took the stage at Purgatory at the Masquerade. exploring complex emotions in their lyrics. The band is made up of Nic Lussier, Charles Dahlke and Micah Rubin. // Photo by Jenna Guiher Student Publications

Indie folk rock band The Brazen Youth makes music for existential crises, quiet autumn days and those who fear change. The band brought their soulful tunes to Purgatory at the Masquerade on the lively evening of April 4. 

The Brazen Youth is made up of Nic Lussier, Charles Dahlke and Micah Rubin, and they are joined on tour by Mei Semones and John Lisi. Over the last seven years, the band has put out three albums, the most recent being “Eagle, Idaho” that was released in September of 2022. 

Throughout the course of the album, the band explores the theme of tragedy in a hauntingly deep and raw manner. While they were visiting the small town of Eagle, Idaho in 2020, they received the news that Dahlke’s dad had passed away. “Eagle, Idaho” shows the grief-filled journey that the band takes, leaving an awe-inspiring album in its wake.

The show was opened by Atlanta-based alternative indie artist Mallbangs, the stage name of Josh Smith. Their music spanned a wide range of emotions: from the angsty, bizarre “New Face” to the simple, heartfelt “Forget Me Nots.”

Throughout the 30-minute set, it was evident how much Mallbangs cared for their music; they were clearly in a bubble of enjoyment, and the crowd had no choice but to watch in awe.

Mallbangs ended with “Gutter,” and the song’s ending guitar solo was the perfect testament to their charismatic stage presence, as the venue swayed to the final notes.

The Brazen Youth took to the stage not long after, and they kicked off their show with the sweet “Spirit Finds Yours.” The song is the first track on “Eagle, Idaho,” and it opened both the album and the show in a slow, melodic way. 

Lussier sang about a mother who lost her son in a car crash. He asked over and over, “How far will I  go ‘til my spirit finds yours?” His words allude to the omnipresent theme of the album: the looming nature of death, always ready to strike when it is least expected.

As the first song faded out, Lussier greeted the audience, saying that it was their first time in Atlanta since 2017 when they played at the Mammal Gallery. He reiterated the band’s excitement to be there as they continued the rest of their set.

“I’ve Never Killed Anything That Lived” was a standout tune from the night. The song sees the band tapping into their folk, acoustic influences as they take a mellow, simplistic approach to the song. Like many of their songs, it is about the acceptance of change and the sadness that accompanies this process.

The band continued to draw songs from both “Eagle, Idaho”and their earlier work, playing “c0w” and “Burn Slowly.” Much like folk rock bands Mt. Joy and Lord Huron, they utilize the serenity of folk music and pair it with an upbeat, percussive cadence to make an engaging song to witness live.

During “I Love It All,” Lisi traded his bass for a saxophone as he performed a riveting solo. The crowd went wild for him, clapping to the beat of the song and whooping in support of his dynamic saxophone performance.

The Brazen Youth then announced that the next song would be their final one. After a brief discussion onstage of what they should end with, they chose “Changing.” While it is not one of their most popular songs, it was the perfect choice to end on, matching the theme and tempo of the evening.

The song began slowly, as Lussier muttered, “I think I’m changing / Like shaking off this dead skin.” Immediately, the song completely shifted, much like the name suggests. The drums kicked in, and Lussier got down on his knees as he strummed his guitar aggressively along with the song. The crowd’s energy soared as they jumped along with the band.

Lussier repeatedly yelled, “I’m shining through / I’m shining through,” encapsulating the song’s message of finding oneself through the acceptance of change.

The band bowed and left the stage, but the audience quickly started chanting for an encore. The shouts became too much to ignore, and The Brazen Youth returned to the stage, smiling. Dahlke explained that this was their first encore of tour since many of their tour dates were opening for Sarah and the Sundays.

To the crowd’s delight, they played their most popular song “Center of Gravity.” Many concert-goers put their arms around their friends and swayed to the melody. It was a beautiful way to end their set as Lussier whispered the song’s outro into the microphone: “Someday I’ll jump in this car / And I’ll drive to wherever you are / To meet me / To meet you.”

The Brazen Youth’s show at Purgatory at the Masquerade speaks to the power of live music. Their studio recordings can only communicate so much emotion; to experience the Brazen Youth live is to truly understand and embrace the passion behind their music.

The Brazen Youth’s music is currently streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.