Logo for Byte Magazine at Ball State University

Young the Giant @ Elliot Hall of Music, Purdue University (2/21/19)

Image from Young the Giant
Image from Young the Giant

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.

Timely flow

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

For more entertainment related content, visit us at Byte BSU!