Smile Politely

Young The Giant brings emphatic indie pop to Canopy Cub

After a long awaited performance following a rescheduling issue earlier this year, indie rock outfit Young The Giant rocked The Canopy Club for a second night this last Thursday. Before the indie rock all-stars graced the stage, Los Angeles based band Wildling, gave Urbana a warm, warm welcome.

“We’ve only been a band for about a year,” lead singer, Ryan Levine, said to the crowd. “We were playing a show that some of the guys in Young The Giant were at, and now we’re opening for them. We’re so humbled by this.” Wildling, though young, gave a clean and tight set to the sold-out Canopy crowd.

Their indie tones and groovy bass are definitely reminiscent of Young The Giant themselves. Levine’s energy on stage was a very sound warm-up for the crowd; he took every change he got to run around the stage and reach out to fans, many of which who actually knew the words to most of their songs. Levine’s brother, Justin, was on the bass and the chemistry between the two performers on stage exemplified exactly what Wildling is all about: feel-good love. Wildling’s songs revolve mainly around love but that doesn’t take away from their performance power.

Levine had excellent control of his voice and though a lot of the songs performed sound as if they could blend together, the wide smiles that Wildling had on their faces showed that they were enjoying the show just as much as the crowd. It is that kind of passion that will Wildling even farther in their career.

Following Wildling’s energizing performance, the crowd was amped and ready for Young The Giant’s second show in Urbana, and they were not disappointed. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia and company took the stage with guitars immediately blaring and stage-lights flashing as they opened with “Daydreamer,” sixth track of their second studio album, Mind Over Matter.

Young The Giant has already taken the indie world by storm, and their reach was easily seen as the entirety of The Canopy Club jumped, bobbed and sang along to every song the Irvine-based band performed. The Young The Giant fan-base, loyal as they are, allowed the band to perform an electrifying set of both old and new songs without fear of the crowd missing a beat. Gadhia’s voice was impeccable as always, his sweet crooning wooing the entire crowd. Between singles such as “Mind Over Matter” and “Apartment,” compared to lesser radio-played album tracks like “Guns Out” and “Anagram,” there was no difference in how involved the crowd was.

This was, of course, was helped by the fact that Sameer commanded the stage with smooth dance moves and impressive hold over the stage. Those familiar with Young The Giant know that often times, the band takes a moment to write softer, more reserved songs. It is always a gamble to play such songs live but Young The Giant were able to capitalize on these moments easily.

During their performance of “Firelight,” Gadhia had the entire crowd swaying and singing along, a moment of serenity and peace in the midst of a set that held nothing back. Regardless of their massive success, Young The Giant doesn’t forget to have fun. Near the end of their set, Gadhia said to the crowd: “this is our second night, so we wanted to do something a little bit different for you guys.” I was unsure of what to expect but was pleasantly surprised and amused as they broke into back to back covers of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition Remix.” The latter of course, was the prime choice of cover to give a crowd full of rowdy college kids.

After an impressive fourteen song set, Young The Giant left the stage only to be begged back for a three-song encore comprised of “Apartment,” “Islands,” and, arguably, their best known track, “My Body,” the last of which catapulted them to fame after they performed it at the 2011 MTV VMA’s. Young The Giant delivered a flawless set on their second night at The Canopy Club. The music, the moves, the lighting, the energy, all of it lined up to show that Young The Giant are going strong, and they are not slowing down for a second.

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