We could tell you about Young The Giant’s explosive live show, but there’s really no point. We could tell you what it’s like to be in the sticky, sweaty crowd, jumping up and down in perfect unison, but that’s neither here nor there.
There’s just too much to be shared, like how lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s pristine, powerful vocals translate as well live as they do on the band’s self-titled debut album, recorded and tracked completely live with the entire band sitting in a room and playing together, like they always do.
But, don’t take it from us.
Take it from Morrissey, who himself said he’d be kneeling with gratitude on a hardwood floor for many years to come over Young The Giant’s “perfect” record, which the band co-produced with Joe Chicarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket, The Shins). Or from Incubus, who handselected the band to rile up the crowd as the opening act on their first US tour in three years.
Better yet, take it from their main stage set at Lollapalooza or upcoming performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards as the only non-nominated band on the bill— all exciting twists of events that only occurred once bookers, agents and directors saw the group play live, and unquestionably knew they needed to see them again.
Hailing from separate states, countries and continents before meeting 55 minutes south of Los Angeles in Irvine, California as teenagers, their addictive, hooky songs and varietal nationalities oft leave them pegged as “radio friendly” “multi-cultural,” or a small handful of other misdirected monikers that place the five piece’s widely adored sound in a too-tight container.
Even though they collectively left school and multiple academic scholarships behind to pursue their dreams, including Sameer, who was enrolled as Biology/Pre-med at Stanford University, this isn’t a story about five boys who meld together as a French Canadian-Persian-British-Indian-Italian musical melting pot. Nor is it of a group whose alternative rock chart-topping, anthemic explosion of a song “My Body” hits you like a kick in the back of the knee.
It’s about a band that has meticulously written and crafted songs together for three years, lived out of shared bedrooms and messy suitcases for two years, and hopped on and off of planes, buses, vans, cars and their beloved bicycles for over one full year, having played more than 150 shows in the past 365 days.
And, whether they’re playing to a sold-out House of Blues in their hometown or to 15,000 festival attendees in the middle of Indonesia on one of their multiple worldwide tours, they never fail to consistently and constantly resonate. Last May, after Young The Giant performed just two songs on Later…With Jools Holland, their entire UK tour immediately sold out.
They had been in the country for less than six hours.
It’s that dedication, soulful essence and collaborative sensibility coming out on stage when they play their collection of songs that has proven to be, quite simply, impossible to ignore.
From the slightly unnerving tranquility of “Islands” to the captivatingly up-tempo take on the theme of transition in “Apartment,” their music ebbs and flows from innovative refrains to heavyhitting melodic smashes and back again, making their debut effort not only engaging, but entrancing. To date, the band has received innumerable “Band To Watch” accolades from outlets like The New York Times, Spin and Nylon to name a few, and were selected by MTV as both a Push and Freshman 5 artist. And, with “My Body,” the first single off the album which hit #4 on the Modern Rock charts in the U.S. and #1 on the Rock charts in Canada while reaching over 1.3 million YouTube views and “Cough Syrup” just beginning its radio ascent, there’s something undeniably special about this band.
So much so, you may just have to see it to believe it.