Young the Giant filled the room with star power while overcoming the lofty, spaced-out Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. On Sept. 29, eager fans shuffled into the Pavilion, an interesting choice for a band like Young the Giant, who could fare much better at South Side or House of Blues.
After enthralling performances from Brooklyn band Joywave and indie-favorite Cold War Kids, Young the Giant lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia rose up from the back of the stage setup, silhouetted against a bright orange LED sunrise. He began the first lines of “Amerika” in a flurry of theatrics. With every beat, Gadhia gyrated and flailed his arms high above his head, a signifier of the show’s energetic mood.
The show was “go, go, go” for seven songs straight. Gadhia stopped only when introducing the band’s oldest and most cherished song, “Cough Syrup.” This early single comes off their eponymous first album—the one that put Young the Giant at the front of the alternative scene in 2010. Since then, Young the Giant has transformed from indie darling to heavy arena rock, morphing its sound and not quite reaching the success of its breakout album.
The heavy production of its second and third albums made for a notable tonal shift at the show. Gadhia’s powerful voice carried the crowd through sweet acoustic renditions of “Strings” and “Firelight,” where Gadhia asked the crowd to hold up their phone flashlights to become part of the environment.
“We could be out there in a subway station in New York City and be playing these songs and no one really gives a damn,” Gadhia said. “But you guys make this that much more important. You’re the big part of this stage, the big part of this show.”
Immediately after the touching song’s final notes, the LED triangular “mouth” and “eyes” backing the stage glowed a fierce red. The crackling first notes of “Nothing’s Over” blared, and the band was back to dancing and moving nonstop.
Throughout the show, Gadhia made it nearly impossible to look at any other band member. His twisting arms and energetic dance moves were fit for a sold-out arena. He oozed charisma from his head to the bottom of his bright yellow jumpsuit. It was Gadhia who really commanded the stage and made the crowd feel more connected. He even demanded that crowd members say “hi” to the person sitting next to them.
Gadhia’s star power carried him through the encores, donning a black and silver glittery jacket for no apparent reason other than to add more theatrics. It worked; the crowd went wild. While Young the Giant’s popularity may no longer be at the level it once was, the band is dedicated to putting on a theatrical and meaningful performance that leaves fans feeling fulfilled.