On February 9th, when many music fans were rushing to Amoeba Music on Haight to see Lana del Rey’s free in-store performance, I opted instead to attend Young the Giant’s sold-out concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco.
Young the Giant’s self-entitled debut album was released in 2010 and was greeted with mixed reviews. Some reviewers view the album as being derivative and unoriginal, while others (including famous British musician Morissey) have praised the band’s work. I was first introduced to the band by a friend who urged me to buy their album off of Amazon, which was being sold for a promotional price of less than $3 (Amazon is currently offering the album for $5.00 compared to iTunes' $9.99). Unlike reviewers who viewed Young the Giant as a disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s ability to mix fantastic vocals and riveting guitar riffs.
From the onset of their set frontman Sameer Gadhia put his charisma on display; the force of his personality was unrivaled by his bandmates as he belted lyrics and jumped around the stage, inciting squeals of delight from the crowd as he stretched his hands out to meet theirs. Despite Gadhia’s magnetic stage presence, the energy the crowd had at the beginning of the set slowly began to dwindle. The band’s slow tempo songs didn’t rouse the crowd much, and the lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the band negatively impacted their performance. In their defense, this was the second night of their new headlining tour and my personal theory is that the band was exhausted from raucous partying the evening before. However, the band managed to captivate the audience’s attention and by the time they closed the show with their hit song “My Body”, the floor was began to rattle as a sea of people began to wildly jump up and down and scream the lyrics out loud.
Despite the fact that Young the Giant was the main act of the night, I left The Fillmore excitedly singing the lyrics of a band I had just discovered. Walk the Moon will be serving as Young the Giant’s opening act for roughly half of their North American tour. Although the above video is not from their performance in San Francisco, it perfectly captures the playfulness of the band whose new EP – entitled “Anna Sun” – is one high energy ballad after another. The band’s exuberance was infectious and the entire venue was happily dancing along to the music. In my experience, opening acts very infrequently upstage the band they’re touring alongside with, but for me at least, Walk the Moon’s performance far surpassed that of Young the Giant.
Before Walk the Moon began their set, the band members painted audience members’ faces; this desire to interact with their audience directly was apparent throughout their performance as they instructed the crowd to clap and dance. The band seemed to thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to play their music in front of a sizable crowd, and they graciously signed autographs after the show. I would highly encourage readers to see this band when they return to The Fillmore in March as the opening act for the Kaiser Chiefs.
Images courtesy of Google (1), SF Station (2 and 3), and the author (4).