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Young the Giant to take on goliath Columbus audience

Courtesy of Pamela Littky

One more spoon of “Cough Syrup” might lead to intoxication, good times and an overplayed status on alternative stations, but Young the Giant has been sipping off it for years.

Drummer Francois Comtois told The Lantern his band’s current hit single was one of the first songs it wrote in 2007.

Comtois, along with fellow Young the Giant bandmates Sameer Gadhia, Jacob Tilley, Eric Cannata and Payam Doostzadeh, is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Newport Music Hall on its sold-out mtvU Woodies Tour. Its song “Cough Syrup” topped Billboard’s Alternative Song chart at No. 3.

“We’ve been playing this song since we were playing for 20 people,” Comtois said. “Now it’s all over the radio and it’s helping us fill these rooms, so on one side you have to be grateful that it’s done what it has done for us, but then it is a little ridiculous to be playing this song every single night. This is something that we wrote when we were still kids, you know?”

Young the Giant formed in Irvine, Calif., in 2004 under the name The Jakes. After a change in name and lineup, the band released its self-titled debut album in October 2010. With its next album, Comtois said the band hopes to mature, but it will stick to what it’s good at: pop music.

“It’s difficult sometimes because you want to grow, but you don’t want to alienate your fanbase,” Comtois said. “We’re trying to find that balance where you can allow your songwriting to mature without turning off people who were drawn to your music in the first place.”

Comtois said touring is sometimes more work than play. While the band does manage to live up to its party image on occasion, Comtois said fans would be surprised at how much time they spend hanging out in their pajamas.

“I think people have this misconception that we’re just crazy party animals,” Comtois said. “While that might be true sometimes, most of the time it’s so tiring to do this, you just want to hang out on the bus, watch TV and drink tea.”

While months on the road can be tiring, Comtois said friendship and the years of hard work before gaining popularity have enabled them to “enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

“To actually see the ticket counts for all the shows, it really makes everything feel like it’s been worth it,” Comtois said. “Things can go away as fast as they come up, so we always have that in the back of our minds.”

Coming up fast is something Sean Waugaman, of opening band Walk the Moon, said he can relate to. The Cincinnati-based band has only been together with its current lineup for about a year.

Waugaman said the fast success from their popular single “Anna Sun” hasn’t sunk in yet.

“All of a sudden we went from playing small shows to playing huge places,” Waugaman said. “It’s been pretty surreal.”

Waugaman, 24, spent a year at Ohio State studying jazz before leaving to pursue music with Walk the Moon. He said the band used to play at The Basement and Rumba Café in Columbus, so the band members are excited to return.

The members of Walk the Moon have made a habit of painting the faces of fans before shows, something that gives them fun interaction with the crowd.

“We try to project a lot of energy and excitement and make everyone feel young again,” Waugaman said.

Avry Rupe, a second-year in psychology, said she didn’t know Young the Giant was coming to Columbus and was sad to hear the show is already sold out.

“I would have liked to see them in concert because I like their indie feel, unique upbeatness and that their songs have meaning,” Rupe said. “They’re just fun.”

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