Young the Giant live in Illinois
- By Killian Young -
- Oct 15, 2012
It’s hard to watch Young the Giant frontman Sameer Gadhia perform without seeing brief flashes of Freddie Mercury - Gadhia has both the frantic emotions and the full, glorious mustache. On Friday, Young the Giant played as the opening act in A&O Productions’ Fall Blowout at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
For Young the Giant, the enthusiasm of the crowd rested largely on Gadhia’s singing, whether he was alternating his crooning between his two microphones or shaking his tambourine. The quintet from Irvine, Calif., got the show started slowly with 'I Got' and 'Guns Out'. Then the fun began: Young the Giant played a new song, 'What You Get', followed by two of the band’s most popular songs, 'Cough Syrup' and 'Apartment'. The crowd went crazy for 'Cough Syrup', with the students in the standing section jumping around and clapping along.
After, the band played another new song, 'Teachers', an uncharacteristically brash track divergent from Young the Giant’s sound, which usually is either sunny and upbeat or somber and introspective. However, in terms of out-of-place songs, Gadhia sent the college crowd into a frenzy when he declared, “It’s the weekend!” and began the group’s cover of R. Kelly’s 'Ignition (Remix)'. (Young the Giant also do a great cover of Adele’s 'Rolling in the Deep'.)
'Islands' followed and couldn’t have provided a starker contrast to the previous song. Islands is easily the slowest track on the band’s 2010 album, ‘Young the Giant', and was a huge momentum killer after having the crowd grooving along. Gadhia’s singing and movements were restrained and he lost the crowd, which seemed at best confused and at worst disinterested. Young the Giant don’t have an extensive discography (only one official LP) to work with for live shows. It was surprising that the band chose both Guns Out and Islands, two deep cuts from their debut album, especially with a fickle crowd of college students, some of whom were there exclusively for the main act, rapper Nas.
However, whatever attention Gadhia lost in the previous song, he immediately reclaimed with a strong closer, 'My Body', which galvanized the crowd’s interest once more. Gadhia stood on an amp in front of the crowd and implored the students to sway their arms from side to side in unison. It became abundantly clear that beyond the crowd, Gadhia’s own fellow band members feed off his energy. Whereas on Islands the rest of Young the Giant looked subdued and static, guitarists Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata, along with bassist Payam Doostzadeh moved around more than on any other song during My Body, inciting the crowd. The fans erupted in cheers as Young the Giant ended their solid, if somewhat enigmatic, set.
This guest blog complies to Virgin.com terms & conditions.