Young the Giant Are a Band on the RiseMarch 3rd, 2014
Young the Giant – Hammerstein Ballroom – February 28, 2014
There are a lot of ways to recognize that a band’s popularity is on the rise, and many of them were on display during Young the Giant’s performance at Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday night. For starters, it was the first of two sold-out shows, which is always a good indicator of a group’s current reputation when dealing with a venue of that size. Secondly, despite nearly getting typecast as chill thanks to their self-titled debut album’s laid-back sound, the band inspired fans in the balcony to stand throughout show thanks to the more aggressive new material on Mind Over Matter.
The spontaneous sing-alongs that accompanied old and new songs alike, such as “Anagram,” “I Got” and “My Body,” rang so loud that the Hammerstein practically sounded like Madison Square Garden. And perhaps the purest indicator of a band on the rise: Some fans spent half the show incessantly waving homemade signs. But what made it so exciting to see Young the Giant at this particular moment in time was that while the different members were often as energetic as a young pop-punk band, their music was carefully constructed and uniquely melodic, with different time signatures sprinkled in—supporting intricate, cleaner-sounding guitar parts.
Even the Young the Giant songs that are supremely anthemic avoided being formulaic. And before the set closed, lead singer Sameer Gadhia reflected on their methodical path that had brought them here, saying it was “fucking surreal” to be playing the Hammerstein when just four years ago they were in New York City for the first time playing a cramped set at Pianos during CMJ. But if this weekend proved anything for the California quintet, it’s that they’ve got plenty of fans that are ready for whatever comes next. —Sean O’Kane