With a debut album filled with lyrics straight from his diary entries, Last Thursday was a seductive show of Ryan Yoo aka boylife opening up to his audience. Selling out his first show in his hometown of Los Angeles, at El Cid in East Hollywood, fans came out to show their love in droves. But I have to be honest, the venue was far too small for such a great talent, however, it lent intimacy to see such a rising star in a picturesque location.
When a friend suggested I see boylife’s performance last week, I was sure I had already seen it. Going through my hard drive, I realized that I had photographed him while he was in another music collective, many moons ago for Sofar Sounds. At the time, I had the pleasure of seeing his talents shine before songs like “Peas” and “supperpretty” hit the web and it’s pretty cool to see what life has become. boy today, if I say so myself.
While the venue was small and the fans were jam-packed with El Cid, it oddly matched Yoo’s vibe perfectly. Its experimental indie roots merging with electronic touches and blues-like samples lulled viewers into a reminiscent realm of watching your neighborhood garage band really develop their sound over the summer break.
I loved you violently
It’s more than I can swallow
When you leave me
You leave me hollow.
Boylife’s sound encompassed the nostalgia we all yearn for as we watch our teenage years pass us by. Fans shouted “YES!” and “It’s My Song” as Yoo talked songs and playfully talked about the embarrassment of singing about sex with his mother in the room. There was a lot of laughter between the heartfelt serenades.
You know that vibe of ’90s TRL music videos, the resonant “world premiere” sounds coming from your TV screen, those stories of bumping into an up-and-coming artist in a cool venue just before he took off, yeah, that was the feeling of walking across the room. It was a fun and lighthearted experience with people shaking their heads to the beat of the music. If you didn’t know what boylife song was playing, either shazza it or nudge the person next to you to find out.
Catch boylife at this year’s Head In The Clouds and be sure to follow him for the latest updates.
Photos & Lyrics by Asha Moné