Concert review: Yung Lean at Studio

By Jordan Bond -
Add a comment
Yung Lean, aka Jonatan Leandoer Hastad. Photo/Supplied.
Yung Lean, aka Jonatan Leandoer Hastad. Photo/Supplied.

Nine months after his first New Zealand appearance, hyped Swedish rapper Yung Lean made a breezy stop at K Rd's Studio last night behind his second studio album Warlord.

Mixed reviews for the album did nothing to discourage the crowd, who turned up hyped and in numbers, replete with matching, Lean-esque hoodies and bucket hats.

Lean's lazy, almost monotonous flow and his unusual hip-hop image - a baby-faced Swede - found him internet fame in 2013 at the intersection of post-ironic internet culture, contemporary art and hip hop.

He garnered a devoted group of young fans fronting collective Sad Boys, and an equally large group of critics questioning his borderline parodic persona.

But three full-length projects in and international tours under his bucket hat, Lean - real name Jonatan Leandoer Hastad - is most definitely serious, and feels like a veteran, even at just 20 years old.

Lean ran onto a stage thick with smoke - not entirely synthetic - to football-like chants. Donning a Friday the 13th 'Jason' mask and sipping from a bottle of Moet, he immediately launched into the most well-received track off the new record, Hoover.

Hectic and harshly industrial, Hoover is a long way from the etheral, woozy production style that launched his career.

It's a darker, more mature sound. He's still rapping about the same things - alcohol, drugs and dejection (Wake up with some liquor in me/ Wake up and the world is empty/ Wake up, bet my bag is empty) but the difference is now Lean's rich (Wake up, take a trip to Paris/ Money in my right and my left hand).

As usual, at his side was collaborator and tour vocalist Bladee. The crowd responded well as Lean and Bladee weaved through tracks from Warlord and his first studio album Unknown Memory.

Warlord's Afghanistan and Unknown Memory's Yoshi City popped off, and had the crowd working the floorboards and chanting the former's rhythmic hook.

But the stand out aspect was Warlord's co-producer and touring DJ Yung Sherman and Yung Gud's critically lauded beats, which carried the show and kept the crowd moving.

Lean and Bladee brought energy, but at times struggled to capitalise on the audience's initial zeal, possibly a result of the sheer number of hype fans in attendence rather than those of the ride-or-die variety.

On stage for a sharp 45 minute set, Lean came back for his encore to perform crowd favourite Ginseng Strip 2002 - released when Lean was just 16 - and had most of the crowd rapping the drug-induced, sexually explicit lyrics like a kids' campfire song.

Lean didn't leave before playing the particularly dark, shouted-vocal track Miami Ultras, before tossing out roses to the crowd, and disappearing into the darkness.

Lean gave the crowd what they wanted - a run through of his best-of - but it was nothing to write home about, no matter where you're from.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 28 Feb 2017 00:32:28 Processing Time: 597ms