Youth Lagoon’s performance electrifies

I wouldn’t want to be Youth Lagoon’s keyboard.

Trevor Powers, the 24-year-old indie musician who goes by the stage name “Youth Lagoon,” came out doing his best mad scientist impression, dressed in a white sweater that could easily double as a lab jacket. With shoulder-length and blond-streaked wiry dark hair covering his eyes, he punched, slapped and smacked the keyboard, as if the more he hit it, the better he would sound during his performance at Pygmalion on Saturday evening at the Highdive’s outdoor annex.

At first, I was skeptical when he came out to screeches and metallic noises, moving his hips and legs like Elvis at the keyboard. It seemed as if he was both intimidated and uncomfortable by being on stage.

But, when he took the mic and walked to the front of the stage, he showed that he was in total control. His confident singing showed the audience that he owned both the stage and his music. His timidity, even his mouse-like features, seemed to fade.

After the initial screeching, he went into a few masterfully performed songs, with short bursts of metallic noises in between pieces that weren’t the most pleasant. Overall, though, Youth Lagoon showed that he owned the stage, and the crowd seemed to love his performance, bobbing up and down and dancing to the beat.

At 10:13, three minutes after their performance was scheduled to end, Youth Lagoon announced he had one song left, but festival administrators told him he was done.

He seemed upset, but went to the middle of the stage and said “kisses,” blowing a kiss to the audience. The crowd had a half-hearted attempt at a “one more song” chant but didn’t seem too upset that the performance was over, electrifying as it was. One contingent of fans even began a “Major Lazer” chant, showing they were ready for the night’s headliner.

Following Youth Lagoon, Champaign Mayor Don Gerard capitalized on the energy, making an appearance on stage, expressing his excitement for the festival.

“This is motherf—ing fun,” Gerard said.