After a walk between the Thompson Library and the Ohio Union in nothing but a downpour, I arrived at the Ohio State Bookstore to buy a t-shirt to substitute my soaking wet Young the Giant Mind Over Matter tour shirt. I hopped in the car with friends and we headed down to Express LIVE! for the show that night.
Ra Ra Riot of Syracuse, New York came out on the Express LIVE! stage and proceeded to give an extremely underwhelming performance. They showcased your typical indie pop sound, with nothing there. Granted, if I’m not a fan of a band’s vocalist, the chances of me really liking the entire band are slim.
The weird string section felt so out of place that they sounded like synthesizers and the keyboard that was on stage sounded strangely amateur. The overall look of the band didn’t mesh and the most energy displayed was the lead singer casually hopping off the bass head. “Offbrand Vampire Weekend” was the agreement we came to after the band’s set.
I had no doubt that Young the Giant would give a fantastic performance, and when they came out to “Jungle Youth,” I was immediately into it. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia wore what was essentially a prison suit, standing in front of a backdrop replicating their latest album cover.
“I Got” was the second song they played, which seemed like an odd choice to me, due to how chill the song feels. The momentum was still there, as it lead into their biggest and catchiest single from Home of the Strange, “Something To Believe In.”
After seeing Young the Giant perform at Bunbury Music Festival in 2014, this was a whole new performance. They were still unbelievably tight in terms of talent, but Gadhia seemed looser and more comfortable stepping away from front and center.
During a couple songs, there was an extended outro the band would jam to, feeding off the audience’s energy. The band played some tracks from their self-titled debut and their sophomore record Mind Over Matter, but the setlist as a whole felt very heavy on the new album.
Although I would’ve appreciated maybe one more track from Mind Over Matter, I was happy to hear a lot of the new songs from a new album I loved so much. Gadhia gave a little intro to the track “Titus Was Born” and the lights came down to a beautiful greenish blue aura around the whole venue. The lyrics about rainfall and oceans with drummer Francois Comtois’ supporting vocals was one of the prettiest concert experiences I’d had in a long time.
The last three songs before the encore were the last three songs on the new album, and the set list closed, of course, with “My Body,” a song you can’t help but rock out to. I believe Young the Giant is one of the best bands out there right now, and this concert only made me feel stronger about that belief.
They’ll be at The Madison Theater in Cincinnati on Saturday, September 24.