Young the Giant
Huntington Bank Pavilion // Chicago, IL // September 9,2017
Young the Giant have been gathering steam for the past few years, and with the release of their newest album, Home of the Strange, they have solidified their place in the indie rock world. This new album handles the topic of immigration (two of the members are children of immigrants, and two other members came to America on green cards from Canada and Britain) and asks their fans to look at America through a more open lens. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia has been quoted as saying “…I don’t feel Indian when I go to India. And in the States, you, know, I will never just be like a pure American.” Given the country’s sharp divide on immigration and immigrant rights, this album is more important than ever.
Young the Giant are smack dab in the middle of their American tour and have two of the biggest indie bands as their opening acts, so getting to their show early was essential. Joywave opened the evening and played songs from their newest album, Content. “We played ‘It’s a Trip!’ for the first time at [101WKQX’s] PIQNIQ here in Chicago back in May,” vocalist Daniel Armbruster said. “And now we’re going to play it for a second time.” Armbruster’s playful rapport and slightly operatic vocals (think Eric Nally from Foxy Shazam) make Joywave one of the most fun bands to see right now. As a special surprise, the band also announced they will be headlining a show at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on November 21st (much to the excitement of their fans who arrived to this show early).
Next, Cold War Kids played an exciting set that spanned their 13-year career. Their first single, “Hang Me Out To Dry,” was released in 2007 and reached #26 on the alt-rock charts. While many of their subsequent singles didn’t fare as well, their 2015 album, Hold My Home, gave the band their first #1 single, “First.” While Cold War Kids kept the lights dimmed for most of their set, they clearly had an amazing time and talked in between nearly every song. They performed a stripped-down cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” and did the song amazing justice.
The headliners had it all: incredible lighting and set pieces, powerhouse singles and stripped down B-sides, and a meaningful connection with the audience. Young the Giant’s stage presence rivals some of today’s biggest bands like Coldplay, and their songwriting on this new album is particularly impressive. When bands write songs that mean something to them personally, it shows. Gadhia was on fire and performed at his best, and the rest of the band followed suit. As the night got colder, the audience followed Gadhia’s lead and danced to stay warm. The entire evening felt like a festival; each band complimented one another so well, and, while Young the Giant were the main attraction, Joywave and Cold War Kids were just as fun to see.