Young the Giant brings Good Vibes to State Farm Center — Pizza FM

Full disclosure: I was given press passes and access to the photo area in exchange for writing this article.

Alternative band Young the Giant has been making waves with their music for nearly a decade. I found out about their music through friends in high school and rejoiced at the release of Home of the Strange. “Silvertongue” was one of those songs that I would play on repeat while walking the streets of U of I my freshman year. I liked them enough to get a sharp pang of FOMO when they played Canopy Club last year and I couldn’t attend.

Luckily, I was able to catch Young the Giant this past Thursday at the State Farm Center. Young the Giant isn’t on tour, yet they surprised everyone at U of I by appearing in town the second a year in a row. Compared to the intimacy of Canopy Club, State Farm Center seemed like a strange venue for the group. However, the setup made the space better suited for the group than initially anticipated: the front sections of chairs were collapsed to allow for a floor area in front of the stage. College-age concertgoers filled not only the floor, but also the chairs in some of the higher sections. Several hundred were in attendance, if not over a thousand.

Hearing a recording of Young the Giant is one thing, but seeing them live introduces an entirely different dynamic to their performance. The live show amplified the energy and swagger of their recorded music: lead singer Sameer Gadhia took vocal liberties with his songs, and all the musicians were very in-sync and high-energy as an ensemble, making the show comfortably familiar in repertoire yet undoubtedly unique in stage presence. With band members burning incense on stage and smiling throughout, it was clear that Young the Giant enjoyed their hour-and-six-minute-long set and wanted others to enjoy it, too.

The setlist included songs from all four albums but was well-structured to encompass their entire discography. Within that setlist, Young the Giant also included a few surprises, namely, performing only one song from their sophomore album Mind over Matter (the title track), performing a non-single album cut from their latest album, Mirror Master (“Tight Rope”), and taking arguably one of their most popular songs, “Cough Syrup,” a little slower than usual. Gadhia had a non-musical surprise for the audience, too, by bringing out a blue hooded cape with reflective pieces as the costume change for the last four songs.

With all the positive energy and excitement coming from Young the Giant, it wasn’t surprising that the audience reflected that energy. Everyone was smiling with excitement, with attendees dancing, singing, laughing, and drinking to the tune of Young the Giant’s music. Despite the high ceilings of State Farm Center, the audience made it felt more like an intimate party than a large stadium show. Set closer “My Body” included a mic passed around to the audience, drumsticks were thrown at the end of the set, and everyone left in a great mood. If Young the Giant decide to come back to the University of Illinois for a third year in a row, I definitely recommend that you be there. High school you, and current you, will not regret it.

Originally published at pizza.fm on November 16, 2019.

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Writer at Pizza FM, Media Consultant for Twocanoes Software, & Music Tech alumnus at UIUC (w/Spanish & Informatics Minors). Also a Songwriter/Sound Designer!

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