With a refreshed lineup since they reformed in 2021, Wasted Youth played a sold-out show at another small venue with its newer recruits Josef Rossam (guitar), Teresa Casella (bass) and Alan Temple (drums) playing alongside founding members Ken Scott (vocals, keyboards) and Rocco Barker (guitar, backing vocals). They played predominantly from their 1980 debut album, ‘Wild And Wandering’, together with singles, B-sides and non-album tracks from their short-lived history.

The band opened on ‘Maybe We’ll Die With Them’; Scott’s voice giving off tones of Lou Reed amongst Rocco’s jagged guitar riffs, which then turned into a Kinks twang in ‘Games’. EP track ‘My Friends Are Dead’ had an interlude of beautiful reverb guitar that was almost violinic and the grungy ‘If Tomorrow’ saw a long, burning guitar solo. Their 1980 debut single, ‘Jealousy’, had the lazy guitar and rhythm section of The Velvets and The Kinks and the keyboard of gothic post-punk band, The Cure.

Wasted Youth also performed a song they have never played live before, ‘Here I Go’; while basic in riff structure it featured Rocco’s noisy guitar feedback sounding like a multiple collision car crash; this continued in ’80s pop single ‘Rebecca’s Room’, against a funky post-punk bassline mimicking Gang of Four’s ‘Anthrax’ and Scott’s wavering bleeps. The band closed their set on debut album track, ‘I Wish I Was a Girl’, with Rocco’s dual personality melodic and scratchy guitar.

17/05/23: Wasted Youth @ Water Rats, London.

Photos © Peter McDonnell Photography.

© Ayisha Khan.