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Concert Review: Young the Giant: A colorful headliner to a solid night of indie music

 

Young the Giant, a five-piece indie band from Irvine, California, stopped off at Express Live on Sunday night as part of its “Home of the Strange” tour.

The band brought openers Joywave, a relatively new electronically influenced, alternative-rock band from Rochester, New York, and indie-rock veterans Cold War Kids, an offbeat, jazzy quintet from Long Beach, California.

Young the Giant kicked off its headlining set with “Amerika,” the opening track off its most recent album “Home of the Strange.” The set featured a wide variety of songs from all three of the band’s albums, and its comparatively light and colorful sound contrasted nicely with the relatively jagged sound of Joywave and Cold War Kids.

Frontman Sameer Gadhia’s stage presence was phenomenal. In front of the triangular screen at the back of the stage was a platform with steps leading up to it, and during most songs, Gadhia would bound up the steps to the platform and dance, silhouetted by the screen behind him.

Around halfway through the concert, Young the Giant dropped its electric instruments and for three songs, played an acoustic set, inspired by a series of shows called “In The Open,” where the band would play stripped-back, acoustic renditions of its songs outdoors.

Joywave opened the night with a short, but energetic set, playing songs that featured heavy, grooving bass lines, tight, kicking drums and had an overall gritty, dancey vibe. Its set started out comparatively slow, but slowly built in energy that exploded with the track “Destruction,” a hit from 2015’s “How Do You Feel Now?” whose jarring first synthesizer chord made everyone in the crowd suddenly come online and jump up and down.

After Joywave came Cold War Kids, who played a varied set, featuring songs from all six of its albums. Highlights included the more offbeat “Hang Me Up To Dry,” a hit off of the band’s 2006 album “Robbers and Cowards,” complete with distorted basslines and keyboard smashing, to a gritty, bluesy cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain.”

Young the Giant brought life and color to Columbus last night, and by the time the night ended with “My Body,” a jubilant, driving song from its self-titled debut album, every single person in the crowd was dancing and singing along.

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