by Tiffany Taylor
On September 16th, the atmosphere was warm and elegant as crowds began filling into The Fillmore. The venue hosted a sold out Young the Giant and Ra Ra Riot “Home of the Strange” tour stop. Crowds of young teenagers and adults looking hipster as hell took every corner of the venue from the bar to center of the stage- drinks were flowing and it was obvious this was going to be an evening of letting loose and dancing like crazy.
The show began right on time at 8pm with Ra Ra Riot entering the stage and getting straight to business. They opened with “Too Too Too Fast”, a song from their first record which was a interesting choice, but great introduction for the group. For people who had never heard of the band, was a way for the group to lay out their foundation for the rest of the show and definitely set the tone. The followed with “Binary Mind”, another track from an early album. At this point what was really cool was the band members switched instruments: Rebecca Zeller went from keyboard to the violin and then Milo, the guitarist, took over keyboard. We saw these switches a number of times throughout the entire performance.
Finally the band goes into a hit: “Foreign Lovers.” This song in particular made myself really appreciate how their use of orchestral instruments is complex and delicate. For the tour, they had a cellist come on select dates to add to their stage presence and overall sound. Bassist Mathieu Santos had his own little solo which opened up “Bouncy Castle.” Ra Ra Riot does not do much talking during their sets; the music artistically speaks for itself. Fun, electronic dance tracks with dainty vocals from Wes Miles is really what the show was all about.
Over half way through their set they decide to play “Can You Tell.” A favorite and ballad song that really hits emotionally with the instrumentals of it and the lyrics. I couldn’t help but scream: “What am I supposed to do? I think about you nightly.” As any typical band does, they saved their most popular songs for last. First came “Water,” which had the crowd singing and going wild. Immediately following was “Absolutely” which is their biggest hit. The ended the night with their newest albums title track “I Need Your Light.” Overall, standing in the crowd and reflecting on their entire set, I was impressed. It was a good open to the anticipation for Young the Giant. Whether you were familiar with Ra Ra Riot before or not, they delivered their hearts into a performance that gave a sense of awkwardness but it was definitely cute.
The lights dim and all of sudden a chaotic burst of bright fills the stage: Young the Giant has arrived. My expectations were high and I had never seen them live or exposed myself to any YouTube videos of them playing before, but within the first 30 seconds I was won over. As I look at my notes from their opening song, “Jungle Youth,” all I had written down was: They are bad ass. To the extreme. And to be honest that sums it up best. Incense burning flooded the room which added to their ambiance they were creating on stage. The light and stage presence was awesome, it was provided elegance that gave them an authentic rock and roll feel.
For an Indie Rock band, they rock like superstars. Vocalist Sameer Gadhia absolutely kills it and proves that what you here on the album is exactly what you get live. I could completely understand why this show was sold out, a band like Young the Giant is timeless musically and as a band. They moved into “I Got” which was a sweet second song, that had the entire crowd swaying and arms up in the air. Following that was “Something to Believe In” which is a funky song that had the entire room grooving (myself included). There were countless times in their set where I was completely lost in the sound. “Waves” had the cleanest guitar sound they had put out thus far. The band was so tight in each moment but not once did it feel forced.
The band decided to play “Apartment” which had us all going completely wild. So after our high that song put us on they played “Cough Syrup” a perfect fan song that promoted singing along loud and proud: “LIFE’S TOO SHORT FOR ME TO CARE AT ALL.” Their crowd interaction was light and powerful. “Repeat” came next, a great song from their new album which I had never heard before but caught on very quickly to.
Gadhia stopped after that song to deliver a very memorable statement: “This album becomes a four-dimensional thing because of you guys. We give this all to you and you guys give it right back to us, right now.”
They powered through the second half of the set with “Mr Know-It-All,” “Mind Over Matter,” and “Art Exhibit.” Their final set song was “Home of the Strange” their newest album and name of the tour. From the moment they began and all the way to this song there was never a bit of hesitation, at least on my part, that Young the Giant did not just deliver one of the best shows I had come to witness.
Encore songs included “Amerika” “Silvertongue” “My Body”.
Thank you again to Ra Ra Riot for showing love and giving something for all of us in the crowd to remember this fall.