This week a healthcare expert warned that live music might not return until 2021. That’s the (very) bad news. The better new is that means the many coming weeks of lockdown will see artists attempting to somehow recreate the connection and energy of a gig as they realise that hopping on Instagram Live and playing a couple of acoustic songs doesn’t quite cut it.
Yungblud already knows what the future looks like, though. Last month he aired the first edition of The Yungblud Show on Youtube, a chaotic coming together of Later… With Jools Holland and Blue Peter, which saw him perform a typical live set down the barrel of the camera lens with guests Machine Gun Kelly, Bella Thorne and Oliver Tree joining him in the studio for skits. It was a burst of much needed normalcy that felt, NME said at the time, “like a vital, generous display of kindness and hope.”
Four weeks later and – let’s be honest – things have gone from bad to worse with even the most optimistic of us now knowing that life won’t be returning to normal any time soon. The second chapter of The Yungblud Show reflects that shift; instead broadcasting from a studio, the guests collaborate from the confines of their own homes. The previous episode’s boisterous energy that came before has been replaced by something more tender.
Every aspect of this hour of power is custom-built to offer respite. There’s a sunny cover of Sublime’s ‘What I’ve Got’ featuring Machine Gun Kelly, Blink-182‘s Travis Barker and Cali rapper 24kGoldn that sees Yungblud on a balcony in his trademark pink socks. He virtually jumps on with 24kGoldn for their cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ ‘City of Angels’, providing a refreshing dose of dreamy, green-screened escapism. Yungblud also performs a gorgeous solo run-through of The Rolling Stone’s ‘Wild Horses’ (“One of my favourite songs ever,” the man of the moment says, “I want it to be a way of sending every ounce of love in my heart to you,”) that dishes out slow-burning optimism and warm familiarity while showing a much softer side to the eccentric fireball.
Away from the music there’s the silly relief of Yungblud being bad at video games laugh-out-loud hilarity when he and alt-pop instigator Ashnikko attempt to sing each other’s songs while eating mouthfuls of chilli. Definitely don’t try this at home. It’s not dangerous; it’ll just be a nightmare for your housemates.
Yungblud also uses this platform as an opportunity to raise money and awareness via a Kelly Osbourne-hosted quiz. For every question he gets wrong, Yungblud donates £1000 to Centrepoint (as he puts, an organisation “that aims to help vulnerable young people move on from homelessness and build a future they can believe in”) and pours a bucket of ice water over his head. For every question he gets right, the charity gets £1000 and Yungblud gets a nice cup of tea. It’s goofy, educational and a reminder that there are people with bigger problems than a lack of live shows or not being able to go to the pub.
As with everything he does, there’s love at the core of The Yungblud Show. For 30 minutes, the Black Heart Gang family – that’s his always inclusive – fanbase comes together to think about something that isn’t impending doom. Just before he signs off, he gives us something to look forward: he has new music coming next week.
The future has never been more uncertain but The Yungblud Show is proof that it certainly doesn’t have to feel bleak.