For almost a decade, Young the Giant has been at the forefront of the alternative scene. And this past weekend, the band proved they’re not slowing down anytime soon after gracing the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre as part of their critically acclaimed Home of the Strange Tour.
Show-goers were prompt for the 7:00 pm start time with indie-rock band Joywave as the first opening act. As many early attendees as there were, it seemed that many Young the Giant fans were excited to see the opener as well.
With interest dwindling as the set went on, Joywave’s lead-singer Daniel Armbruster made a deal with the audience: If everyone cheered enough during their last two songs, the band would add Florida to their next tour lineup. By the end of their second to last song, the band had made its decision to make the addition.
As the sun set during the first intermission, the afternoon seemed to settle into a completely different atmosphere. The red, blue, and purple lights that graced the second opening act, Cold War Kids, were a perfect mood-setter for the band’s emotional and passion-filled songs. Memorable moments of the band’s set included a dedication of the song “Can We Hang On?” to those affected by Hurricane Irma, a cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain,” and the entire amphitheater standing for their song “First.”
Towards the end of the second intermission, the entire amphitheater murmured with anticipation as an inspiring compilation of audio from different sources mentioning the word “America” played. The audio eventually came to an abrupt stop, and soothing melodies of their album’s opening song “Amerika” filled the air. With the first kick-drum beat of the night drawing the crowd out of its trance, the rest of the afternoon had started with a bang.
The band brought their fans through a rollercoaster of emotions as they played songs from the immigrant-themed album, as well as surprise songs from older albums.
The show was a visual experience as much as it was a musical one. It was hard to decide whether to focus on lead-singer Sameer Gadhia’s dance moves or the triangle-shaped screen projecting a plethora of psychedelic graphics.
Midway through the show, the band shifted to an acoustic song production as seen in their series on Youtube: In the Open. To make the performance even more intimate, Gadhia made audience members part of the performance. When he pointed to the crowd, this was a cue for everyone to raise their cellphone flashlights in a heartfelt moment.
Just when it seemed that the show had ended, the band came strutting back on stage. After Gadhia changed into a blue sequin-covered jacket, the band was ready to finish the show.
For a band that has been experimenting with different sounds since their formation in 2004, this tour has definitely cemented their abilities as innovative performers who know how to keep a crowd going.
Review and photos by Tiana Headley