Young the Giant kicked off their second headlining tour with two sold out shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco this week. For a band that has only released one studio album (and almost a year and a half ago at that), Young the Giant is situated to have an explosive 2012.
They started off their set with “I Got,” one of their more musically sparse tracks, but upbeat nonetheless, followed by a rousing rendition of “My Apartment” which got the crowd dancing and singing along. Frontman Sameer Gadhia is a captivating and charismatic performer. Whether he’s shaking that tambourine like there’s no tomorrow or crooning into his two microphones, Gadhia creates an infectiously energetic atmosphere. Young the Giant, who have been compared to bands like The Shins and The Killers, don’t fall into the gimmicky trap that a lot of new rock/pop bands do. Instead they rely on Gadhia’s impressive vocal range and honest lyrics to carry them through the night. My only advice would be to incorporate the personalities of the other musicians as well so there’s more band-wide cohesion.
But Gadhia hasn’t had a problem leading them this far. They have already accomplished a lot and last year alone they played at South by Southwest, Sasquatch! Music Festival, performed during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, and opened for Incubus on their fall tour. All that hard work has paid off and most of their upcoming 40 shows for this tour are already sold out.
A few songs into the set they played “Cough Syrup,” one of their more popular songs which manages to be both anthemic and intimate at the same time. Shortly afterward, they played a new song “Camera” that attempted to showcase a slower, more melodic side of Gadhia, but after the upbeat and dance-inducing songs of the first half, the keyboard heavy song didn’t quite excite the audience. Overall, the set ended on a less energetic note than it began, although they had a terrific build up in their final song “God Made Man.”
The encore consisted of another slower tempo new song called “What You Get,” “Islands,” and of course it closed out with their hit “My Body.” The audience, made up of mostly 20-somethings, knew all the words, and it’s a testament to the Fillmore’s construction that the floor didn’t collapse under all the music induced jumping and grooving.
The opening band Walk the Moon definitely deserves a mention too. This highly energetic, youthful, MGMT-meets -Passion Pit-meets-Naked and Famous four-piece rocked the house before Young the Giant took the stage. Despite being from Cincinnati they have a surprisingly large fan base in San Francisco, many of whom wore neon face paint in support of the band. Don’t know them? Make sure to check out their EP The Anna Sun which came out earlier this month and then catch them on March 20th when they are back the the Fillmore supporting the Kaiser Chiefs.