“You won’t even let me leave the stage. This is bullshit,” singer George Van Den Broek said jokingly at the Moroccan Lounge before going into his encore song. Van Den Broek performs under the moniker Yellow Days, and is basically an old soul trapped in an 18 year old’s body. Exhibiting deep maturity, an incredible skillset toward musical composition, and possessing a raspy croon that makes his sound fully unique, Van den Broek’s music belies his youth.
Hailing from the town of Haslemere, England, Yellow Days was making just his second-ever Los Angeles appearance on April 3. His indelible performance featured a blend of melodic, wistful arrangements, and his soulful yet gravelly vocals. The singer/songwriter/guitarist captivated the crowd at his first of two sold-out shows at the Moroccan Lounge. Dressed in an oversized white tee tucked into his black slack pants, his well-mannered demeanor, inherent sweetness, and expressive lyrics make him anomalous in today’s music world. With lyrics tackling desolation, anxiety, newfound/lost love, and the world around him, Yellow Days comes off astute, knowledgeable, and seasoned all before he crosses over from just being in his late teens.
The singer performed 13 songs, the majority of them coming from his 2016 EP Harmless Melodies and 2017’s debut LP, Is Everything Okay In Your World? Both projects dwell in the realm of indie-soul, with lo-fi, psychedelic, and mild R&B elements all to be found below the surface. Early in his performance, he played the crowd favorite “Your Hand Holding Mine,” a song most of us can relate to, describing the kind of love you believe will carry on forever, but simply doesn’t work out the way you planned. With a woozy undercurrent, weathered vocals, and deeply emotional lyrics, it is no surprise this one has always been a standout track among the rest.
Following “Your Hand Holding Mine” was “A Little While,” which is also off the Harmless Melodies EP. Thematically in the same landscape as the previous track, “A Little While” depicts the ebb and flow of a relationship; on the verge of leaving one minute to suddenly smoothing things out and staying just “a little while” longer. Producing earthy tones and incomparable bluesy vocals within its overall resonance, the song meets at the intersection of vibrant and distinctive.
The show featured several tunes off Is Everything Okay In Your World?, such as “Hurt In Love,” “That Easy,” and “A Bag of Dutch.” For a few of the songs, Yellow Days invited trumpet player Nick Walters to join him on stage. One of those songs was “The Tree I Climb,” an airy, jazz-infused track displaying the many sides of Yellow Days’ multifaceted sound. During the set, the tightly packed crowd was infatuated by Van Den Broek’s singing, guitar playing prowess, and entire disposition.
Coincidentally, when a few people in the crowd requested for “Gap In The Clouds” to be played, Yellow Days and his band came through on that request. His most popular track to date (and recently featured in the trailer for FX’s Atlanta: Robbin’ Season), “Gap In The Clouds” is a slab of indie-soul perfection. The ethereal composition features the lyrics “Who really knows the truth / Life’s what you make it / And I wanna make it with you,” which combines undeniable beauty with a mesmerizing perspective on the exceptional feeling of finding that special someone.
Many in the crowd were as thrilled as I was when Yellow Days launched into “People,” the song being one of my personal favorites.The harrowing gem is brimming with emotions on the complexities of being human and not letting the everyday run-around get the best of you. The thought-provoking lyrics give life to his mother’s lessons: “Mama says ‘George, that’s just life.’ / And though I find it hard to grow and sympathize / She said ‘No, sometimes in life people get put down / But it’s not their fault, / It just the circumstances that they surround.’/ And we’ll say ‘Oh.’” The song paints a picture of wisdom being sent down to her son as he learns to adapt and cope with the world he lives in, inward and outward.
By the night’s conclusion, no one wanted to see Yellow Days leave and it was no surprise. Along with his band, he wrapped up the show beautifully with “Nothing’s Going to Keep Me Down,” transfixing concertgoers in their place. With striking guitars, aching vocals, and an enthralling melting pot of jazz-infused rock, indie-soul, and sounds you never knew existed in modern music, Yellow Days capped the night off in the most magical way possible. Then again, it’s difficult to imagine anything less from him.
Yellow Days will wrap up his sold-out North American tour on April 13. To stay updated with the latest news on him, visit his Ones To Watch artist page.