Concerts are a special kind of musical experience; a band’s music is atmospherically enhanced for the fans, and the shows forever leave a lasting memory. Young the Giant’s performance at Purdue University’s Elliot Hall of Music on Feb. 21 will be remembered well by fans, despite slight shortcomings in their performance. Small mistakes were collectively waived by the listeners, as the audience ultimately gave a grand ovation at the end of the concert.
Easygoing, three-man band Sure Sure opened the show with a warm glow of free-spirited rhythms and mellow grooves. Sure Sure is an up-and-coming experimental indie pop band based in L.A. With only one album, a couple singles and an EP, they’re already capturing the attention of hipsters and hippies alike. Their laid-back performance was a radiant beacon of sound for the crowds entering the theatre and finding their way to their seats.
Sure Sure left the stage and the crowd sat down, but only momentarily. In an extremely timely manner, Young the Giant made their appearance. As they caught the audience completely off-guard with their promptness, the house lights dimmed, and everyone collectively dropped whatever they were doing or talking about to stand up and prepare their sing-along vocal chords.
The opening song, “Oblivion,” set a strong precedent for the first one-third of the show. The setlist allowed for a couple of continuously up-beat songs, but beats per minute embarked on a downward slope as Young the Giant continued on with almost too many slow songs in a row. The attention span of the listeners was holding on by a thread, but it was yanked back into place as the band performed another fan-favorite: “America.”
Lead singer Sameer Gadhia took small breaks between every three or four songs to talk one-on-one-thousand with the fans. The mini-speeches he delivered were positively introspective; Gadhia would preach to the consciousness of every listener, reminding them of their mental freedom and power. It became clear that he was communicating a lot of hidden messages and true meanings behind their songs’ lyrics. These talks enhanced not only the show, but also the music itself. The messages behind the lyrics were decoded, giving concertgoers more appreciation for the ideas that fueled their songs.
Regular concertgoers always know when an encore is to be expected, especially when there is collective recognition that the performers “forgot” to play their most popular songs. As anticipated, Young the Giant encored with three of their most popular and upbeat songs: “Tightrope,” “Silvertongue,” and “My Body.” As they were playing “Silvertongue,” the band’s ability to perform was falling apart at the seams; the songs were starting to get sloppy and broken in composition. The guitar progressions were slowly starting to lose sync with the drum beat, and Gadhia’s vocal chords were noticeably struggling. It’s a good thing the crowd was singing the words, or else we would’ve been left hanging since his voice faded out at the end of every verse and chorus. After the live train wreck called “Silvertongue” was over, “My Body” was surprisingly one of the most energetic moments of the entire show; this performance helped the concert end on a note that was just as strong as the one it began on.
Performance highs and lows
Were there attempts to shake up some of the songs to make them sound a little different live? Some questions we may never know the answer to. Every song in the setlist had minor offset guitar chords, drum beats or synthetic sounds that were noticeably absent from the regular studio recording. Listeners were hit with a small wave of confusion as it was undecipherable whether or not this was on purpose or if one of the musicians had struck a wrong chord. However, an obviously intentional effort to make things different was the addition of guitarist Eric Cannata taking the lead vocals in a few songs, as well as the drummer, Francois Comtois, adding in some harmonies. In some, mostly slow songs, Cannata was allotted the position of lead singer for the length of a chorus or two. This was a good touch that added a special twist to the live music. This might’ve been an act of equal opportunity amongst the band members, or it might have been to give the lead singer a bit of a breather.
Sameer Gadhia came out with a full tank of energy from the moment the concert started. Unfortunately, due to his wild and power-driven dance moves, he started running out of gas by the end of the first set of songs.
However, Gadhia did his best to maintain his intensity. Sometimes he danced and acted out almost in a child-like way; his recklessness wasn’t meant to be funny, but it was almost accidentally humorous how excited he seemed to be. Physical movement was his energy outlet, and he wore himself out much like a rambunctious kid would. Most comically, during the encore he started jumping up and down on an imaginary stage trampoline. This got a few laughs out of the audience, and it was amusingly refreshing to see a performer so passionate about their music. Gadhia wanted desperately for the audience to be as excited as he was, and he definitely gave them the entertainment they came to see.
This concert also put on one of the best light shows I’ve ever seen; it’d be safe to expect very basic complementary lights for this kind of setting, given that it wasn’t a stadium venue. Rather, it was in a small concert hall, yet the lights were perfectly collaborative for the music. There was a backdrop of light strands, flashing strobe lights, overhead lights, lights strung across the stage floor, and light stands on the sides of the stage. They changed colors and moved in unison to the sound of the music as if they were dancing to the flow of each song. The colors and sequential movements were tailored perfectly to every track, which enhanced the music and overall visual experience.
Featured Image: Young the Giant
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