With the recent summer heatwave, it was a hot weather day for the San Francisco Bay Area, which made for a perfect evening at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA when Young the Giant brought the heat on stage. It was an early show starting at 6:30 pm where locals, fans, and Berkeley students all united at one of the most iconic venues. Rising artist Alice Merton recognized for her debut single “No Roots” (Top 40 hit and certified Gold by the RIAA) kicked off the show with her band singing songs from her album Mint. All of her songs “Lash Out“, “Why So Serious“, “Funny Business“, “I Don’t Hold a Grudge”, and “Trouble in Paradise” have an angsty attitude undertone with a powering layer of dance-pop rhythm and catchy beats. Merton admitted that she rarely performs in the Bay Area and wishes to visit more often. She and her band played their final song and took a bow before neo-Motown soul group Fitz and The Tantrums entertained the crowd with their full energy.
Fitz and The Tantrums never seem to disappoint the crowd whether they’re headlining or a supporting act, giving their audience 100% each time. Their experience as a band for the past decade was on full display as they sounded fresh, hip, and upbeat. The duo singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs couldn’t be more compatible with their onstage chemistry. They practically fill in each other’s lyrics and bring the music to life with their charismatic personalities. Their saxophonist James King really knows how to hold a note and make a song sound so irresistible to groove. With each song, Fitz and The Tantrums had the audience moving and had the party rolling.. With every song, the crowd was fully engaged especially with their more recognizable material – “Out Of My League“, “123456“, “Fools Gold“, “Roll Up“, “Handclap“, and “The Walker“. Fitz and The Tantrums succeeded with audience participation as they had the crowd singing, dancing, and clapping in unison.
While some came to see Fitz and The Tantrums wearing their band shirts, the majority represented Young the Giant with their shirts as they waited for them to walk on stage. The house music faded, the stage lights were on, and fans screamed when Young the Giant finally appeared. Opening with “Oblivion” off their new fourth album Mirror Master (2019), they quickly segued to “Something To Believe In” from Home of the Strange (2016). Instantly, fans joined in with the band doing the grunts. The evening began to cool down, but Young the Giant pumped up the excitement with their songs “Heat of the Summer“, “Apartment“, and “Amerika“. Frontman Sameer Gadhia seduced the crowd with his lyrical poetry as well as smooth dance moves across the stage. His voice is of natural talent as he sounds exactly like on the albums. Gadhia even jumped on his stage trampoline while encouraging the crowd to jump with him. Drummer Francois Comtois sang alongside Gadhia and bassist Payam Doostzadeh had the fan blow his long hair as he plucked his strings. While Young the Giant were on stage, the fog machine and the fluorescent lighting truly made it feel intimate during their performance. It was quite a moment seeing couples holding each other as they sang along to Young the Giant’s more serene songs while holding their camera lights for “Firelight“. Just before their encore, they performed “Cough Syrup” from their self-titled and “Mind Over Matter“. After a brief walk-off from the stage, the gang came back together with Gadhia wearing a Harry Potter looking cloak for “Superposition” and “Silvertongue“. They concluded with “My Body” where Gadhia made everybody throw their arms up in the air and wave. Young The Giant have clearly mastered the power of being on stage as they directed and conducted everyone to follow along giving the show a lively spirit. During their set, Gadhia mentioned that The Greek Theatre was one of the best venues they’ve played. We hope that’s a sign for Young the Giant to perform there again in the future.
Photo credit by Marc Fong