Despite their playing in front of 2,000-plus ecstatic fans, Young the Giant’s (YTG) concert at the Bowl last Friday felt surprisingly intimate. With their uplifting melodies and stylishly relatable lyrics, it was difficult not to fall into their soulful songs, sung to perfection by lead singer Sameer Gadhia. Indie-rock band Cold War Kids opened the show with a set of crowd-pleasers performed with energy and passion, closing with their 2014 anthem “First” before YTG took the stage.
Young the Giant and Cold War Kids at the Bowl
Young the Giant play the Santa Barbara Bowl with opener Cold War Kids
YTG opened with “Amerika,” a track from last year’s Home of the Strange, an engaging album composed of musical narratives that tie in to today’s flaring political conditions. Up next was another Home song, “Something to Believe In,” which is a powerful addition to the band’s poetic repertoire. Before launching into “Titus Was Born,” Gadhia shared that even though all the YTG members have roots in other countries, they “haven’t told the story of the immigrant in America” until now.
The highlight of the evening was “I Got,” off YTG’s self-titled 2010 album, which was impossible not to sing along to. Personal connections, beautiful visual artistry, and the band’s musical prowess made for a contemplative sensory experience.