The groove was just right last week as The Knocks helped introduce Dutch artist Nick van Hofwegen’s musical entity Young & Sick to Sacramento’s Ace of Spades. While most fans would arrive just in time to see The Knocks, those who arrived early were treated to a rare glimpse of an artist re-emerging into the world of live music, quietly but definitively.
What felt like a bleak turnout turned into opportunity for the Dutch-born artist and musician. When van Hofwegen quietly ordered a clear drink from the bar prior to taking the stage, one could assume it was to calm the nerves, but once the show began the cup remained rather full, barely touched and overridden with condensation. Somewhere between the bar and the stage there was a transformation, for once the show kicked off the only way to go was up and up.
Since debuting in 2012, Young & Sick has pushed an independent spirit that shines once the artist hits the stage. His music is beautiful and tortured with optimism within an ominous reality of being young and lonely in a big world of many unknowns. Given the circumstances, the artist can only outpace the looming negatives with a positive force driven by welcoming grooves and a sincere voice.
Recent years have clearly come with creative wisdom for Young & Sick, who also comes with a strong resume in the visual arts department. His reputation precedes him as he’s designed record covers for artists such as Maroon 5, Skrillex, Foster the People, and Robin Thicke. Clearly possessing a special touch, the latter became van Hofwegen’s fourth consecutive album design to reach #1 on the Billboard charts.
Since releasing his self-titled album ‘Young & Sick’ in 2014, the music has been sparse. However, last year welcomed a slew of promising singles, including the groovy record “Ojai,” a cover of Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead,” and most recently, a two-track EP titled ‘No Good,’ which exemplifies his greatest promises as a rising star.
In Sacramento, Young & Sick blossomed from an unknown opener to an undeniable favorite that had new fans asking for an encore. One might be drawn in by the sincerity in van Hofwegen’s voice that spills poetic lyrics of solitude, while others may get lost in the pop lush chords and live drums that juxtapose in a beautiful and somewhat necessary way.
With brief, but powerful riffs, van Hofwegen’s voice captured the crowd inside Ace Spades with definitive force. By the end of the show, he would start a dance circle in the crowd, creating one of the purest moments of the evening. Just as Sacramento was asking for more by the end of the night, the world is sure to be asking for more music from Young & Sick once they catch a glimpse of his light.
Young & Sick is currently supporting The Knocks on a North American tour.
For more information on Young & Sick, visit YoungandSick.com.
Photos by Cesar Alexander.