It has been almost 10 years since Black Kids released their much-lauded debut album Partie Traumatic. The album, which debuted at #5 in the UK, featured tracks like “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You” and “Hurricane Jane.” With some help from rave blog reviews, Black Kids quickly made a name for themselves in the music scene. Their songs were everywhere, soundtracking everything from video games to television and movies. And it’s an album that has had lasting appeal, with their hit single most recently making an appearance on Netflix’s Girlboss.
So it’s no surprise that fans of Black Kids have been eagerly awaiting their sophomore release. But it has certainly been a long time coming. Rookie, which dropped in September of this year, was recorded at the end of 2015.
Currently out promoting the release, Black Kids made a stop at an aptly intimate spot this week, performing to a decent sized crowd at Philadelphia’s Boot & Saddle. The venue and crowd size were appropriate, given the band’s nine-year delay. Even frontman Reggie Youngblood noted during his set that they must be a hard band to love. “We take our sweet time and our songs are bullshit,” he quipped. And while that may be true, there is a definite appeal to the Jacksonville, Florida indie pop band. And the fans in attendance at Boot & Saddle on Tuesday night were excited for the band’s return, aching to bask in the nostalgic tunes.
They started the night off strong, opening their set with “Hit The Heartbrakes” followed by two new Rookie tracks, “In a Song” and “If My Heart Is Broken.” The tracks were enjoyable, but it seemed like Black Kids have yet to find their groove with them. Just a few nights into their current tour, the band seemed much more comfortable playing their early hits. But they can be forgiven for still working out the kinks. And it helps that they have a playful banter on stage, most notably between siblings Reggie and Ali Youngblood. New track “IFFY” started off, well, a bit iffy, a joke that wasn’t lost on Reggie Youngblood, but ended strong. Both “IFFY” and the album’s title track “Rookie” are reminiscent of the band’s earlier work; pop tunes with a catchy chorus. And “Obligatory Drugs” definitely feels at home with the self-proclaimed “bratty-ness” of their earlier work.
So what took so long for Rookie to reach audiences? Perhaps the choruses are to blame for the band’s delay. “Worst of all, I couldn’t write a chorus,” Youngblood lamented in a recent interview, “And for a band that worships The Chorus, that was problematic.” Luckily for their fans, they seemed to hit their stride, and Rookie’s tracks pair well with their older material, allowing the band to flow from one album to the next without much disparity.
Ultimately though, the audience in attendance on Tuesday night was there for the “Hit The Heartbrakes” and “Listen To Your Body Tonight” moments, which erupted in all out dance parties. Most notably midway into their set. “If you guys want to dance like no one’s watching, go ahead. But I’ll be watching,” Youngblood jokingly said just before launching into “Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo).” This was Dawn Watley and Ali Youngblood’s moment to shine, with their infectious chorus of “I say baby, you say bump it. All you wanna hear is Gabriel’s trumpet. Clock says stop we’re all gonna drop. All gonna drop, all gonna drop” still ringing in many ears long after the show had ended.
Of course, the set would not have been complete without the band’s biggest hit, “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You,” which capped off a set that could most simply described as fun. They headed back on stage for a quick encore of old songs, “I’m Making Eyes At You” and “Love Me Already.” And, if Tuesday night was any indicator, Black Kids fans definitely love them already.
Hit The Heartbreaks
In a Song
If My Heart is Broken
Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)
I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again)
Listen to Your Body Tonight
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You
I’m Making Eyes At You
Love Me Already