It might feel like the relentless rain has been draining the East Bay of its vibrant buzz lately, but Young the Giant decided to fix that last week. The five-piece put on an extraordinary show on February 6 that warmed the rain-soaked feet of their Fox Theater audience.
It was the second show of Young the Giant’s 2014 tour, and just two weeks after the release of their second album Mind Over Matter. The band used their class and talent to light up the drowsy Bay Area crowd.
Not that any alterna-rock lovers were unexcited before the show. By the 8 p.m. doors, the concert floor was already swarmed with restless fans. They bore two hours of eager anticipation as guest bands Tapioca and the Flea and Cayucas tried to stir up some spirit in their opening acts.
The audience eventually mellowed in response to the sweet, surfy vibe of Cayucas’ “East Coast Girl.” The rest of the set almost settled into monotony, but the six-piece indie popsters eventually used their quirky wiles to win San Francisco back. They dropped some amusing Nor Cal jargon, including our beloved trademark “hella.”
But the hella tight part for everyone really happened after Cayucas’ set. Screams erupted as Young the Giant frontman Sameer Ghandia’s voice pierced through the slumber of the set change as he broke the silence with hit song “Apartment.” The band followed up with their new rock highlights “Anagram” and “It’s About Time.” Revved by the twangy guitars and synthwork, the crowed responded wildly to the outpouring of energy Young the Giant delivered onstage.
The intensity of the band’s rapport with their fans was most evident in a playful, teasing cutoff after the climax in “Cough Syrup.” Screams refused to cease and hands were up in the air grasping for more arresting songs; the band responded elegantly with an unexpected, stripped down ballad, “Firelight.” The move rendered the audience even more breathless.
The unique, soothing, and powerful quality of Gadhia’s live voice was a phenomenal contrast to his band’s studio recordings, which seemed to pale in comparison. Also impressive was Gadhia’s ability to focus while rocking a tambourine and maracas as he bounced between two microphones. His multitasking seemed like a feat, but ultimately added a richer, harmonized timbre to the show.
It was overall a charming display, especially during “Crystallized,” which showcased Young the Giant’s complementary indie-experimental style and rock-daring execution.
At the final encore the band wrapped their set up with their irresistible “My Body,” which had the dancing crowd relishing their last gush of adrenaline, and everyone found themselves sucked into that catchy hook:
My Body tells me no
But I won’t quit
Cause I want more
Cause I want more.
Cause they wanted more.
Article and photos by Ning De-Eknamkul