Young the Giant played two nights of sold out shows at Stubb’s on Friday and Saturday. Their newest album “Home of the Strange” took center stage, but lead singer Sameer Gadhia made sure to show love to classics from their first album, like “Cough Syrup” and “Apartment.”
By Gabrielle Sanchez
It’s been three years since Young the Giant played a stand-alone show in Austin. I had the pleasure of seeing them then, when Austin Music Hall was still open and their second album “Mind Over Matter” was just released.
Although time has passed since then, the essence of the band has remained the same. Gadhia’s voice easily surpasses what a recording can provide. Synchronized dancing between the band members and Gadhia’s own loose, sensual dancing create a flow that never fails to excite the audience. They take songs like “I Got” and elevate the vocals, embedding the songs with more emotion and impact, in turn, straying away from the original version.
When looking at what made the shows different, the biggest distinction was the relationship between the band and audience, which is often the price of gaining popularity in the music business. One of the aspects of the show that I liked more this time as compared to their 2014 show, was the stage setup. The Home of the Strange Tour features a mountain tapestry in the background of the stage and starlike twinkling lights behind it. The visuals aided in storytelling during songs such as “Titus Was Born.”
The vibe of the concert shifted many times throughout the set as they switched from high energy songs like “Jungle Youth” and “Silvertongue” to ballad pieces such as “Repeat.” Toward the end of the show, Gadhia acknowledged this shift and thanked the crowd for supporting all their ranging varieties of music, which allows them to challenge their song-writing process.
Gadhia addressed the disconnect between the audience and performers that occurs as shows, stages and crowds get larger. In order to combat this and engage the crowd, he called on them to pull out their lighters or flashlights and sway them back and forth during the song “Firelight.” This was fitting for the song and helped create intimacy, but it missed the mark when it came to establishing a deeper connection. The band asked the audience to do the same thing in 2014, which created a sense of magic and closeness to the performers that was lost at this show.
Much like the overarching messages in “Home of the Strange” of unity, understanding and young love, the band brought people from different backgrounds together where we were all united by music and love for Young the Giant.