Young the Giant at the Rhythm Room Last Night

Young the Giant

The Rhythm Room
March 1, 2011

Young the Giant brought a fascinating, unconfined performance to the Rhythm Room last night.

The group formerly known as the Jakes completely let loose and had a great time on stage. Plus, they managed to keep their show almost as casual as Jack Johnson keeps anything. YTG's lead singer Sameer Gadhia even jokingly toasted to those who were too young to drink as he held up a mug. What rocker drinks out of mugs? Never have I seen a band that looks so easily approachable yet has a strong stage presence. It just made them even more captivating.

YTG stomped all over the stage and moved about wildly, which was quite a sight to see. Sameer went into shaking fits whenever he held his tambourine. He also spent a lot of the show with his eyes closed. Man, he was into it. The whole band was definitely all about connecting with the audience, and the packed Rhythm Room reciprocated the warm welcome for the band they love.

Sameer might have had the oddest quote of any performer on stage last night. "This microphone smells like Pop Tarts, but I'm not complaining," Gadhia noted to the audience in the middle of the show. At least he was down to just go with it.

The band's performance of "St. Walker" oozed with personality and energy. "Islands" had crystal clear vocals, and the harmony between Sameer and drummer Francois Comtois was beautiful. The song got a hard rock touch, which made it a bit more aggressive yet still gentle. Everyone went nuts during "My Body, "shouting the whole song and throwing their hands at the band. On multiple occasions throughout YTG's set, Sameer shook his tambourine on Francois' cymbals, which made for great onstage chemistry within the band. Young the Giant knew how to have fun amongst themselves as well as with all those who came to see them.

One of YTG's standout features was Gadhia's voice. His singing seems effortless in the same way that Frank Sinatra used to. In terms of vocal quality, Sameer matches that of the recordings on the band's self-titled album. In terms of talent, that powerful voice of his just seems to come out of nowhere, and somehow he makes it seem like he doesn't even try to sound that way.  He, along with the rest of the band, have a ton of natural talent. At times Sameer sang into two microphones at once, which was convenient considering that everyone in attendance couldn't get enough of his sound.

The show's only imperfection was the short setlist. It packed a punch nevertheless, but I'm sure the crowd would have loved to watch YTG even for only a few more minutes. In any case, it was an  intimate show that ultimately left me demanding a second album from the band -- if only so their show can be a little longer.

Critic's notebook:

Last night: Young the Giant at the Rhythm Room.

The crowd: A lot of local high schoolers came out for the show. The crowd was definitely on the younger side.

Overheard: Some older guy tapped me on the shoulder and said to me in a joking manner, "You know, it is possible to not live your whole life on your phone." I was writing this very article on my phone so that I wouldn't look like an asshole that was awkwardly taking notes in an obvious manner during the show. Schmuck.

I Got
Guns Out
Cough Syrup
God Made Man
St. Walker
My Body

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Lenni Rosenblum