With a debut album filled with lyrics straight from his journal writings, last Thursday was an alluring show of Ryan Yoo aka boylife’s openness to his audience. Selling out his first hometown show in Los Angeles, at El Cid in East Hollywood, fans came to show love in swarms. But I must be honest, the venue was much too small for such a big talent, however, it lent to the intimacy of seeing such a rising star in a quaint venue.
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When a friend suggested I check out boylife’s performance last week, I was sure I had seen him before. Scrolling through my hard drive, I realized I had photographed him when he was in another music collective, many moons ago for Sofar Sounds. Back then, I had the pleasure of seeing his talents shine before songs like “Peas” and “supperpretty” hit the web and that is pretty cool to see what boylife has developed into today, if I say so myself.
While the venue was tight in size, and fans were busting at the seams of El Cid, it oddly fit Yoo’s vibes perfectly. His experimental indie roots merging with electronic keys and blues-like samples lulled concert goers into a realm reminiscent of seeing your neighborhood garage band really develop their sound over summer break.
I’ve been loving 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 adolescence pass us by. Fans screamed out, “YES!” and “that’s my song” as Yoo flowed through songs and playfully spoke about how awkward it is to be singing about sex with his mother in the room. There were a lot of laughs in-between heartfelt serenades.
You know that 90’s TRL music video vibe, the echoing sounds of “world premier” coming from your tv screen, those stories of stumbling across an up-and-coming artist at a cool venue right before they take off, yeah, that was the feeling going through the room. It was a funny and lighthearted experience with people bobbing their head to the music. If you didn’t know which boylife song was being played, you were either Shazzaming it or nudging the person next to you to find out.
Photos & Words by Asha Moné