If you’ve been camping, you probably know that one annoying friend who, at the campfire, armed with an acoustic guitar, tried to belt out the renowned hit “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant.
Chances are it probably sucked, but chances are you may have sung along with them. “Cough Syrup” is such a catchy song that even to this day, I can’t help but yell along in my car or shower when it’s thrown on shuffle.
The issue with a hit like that though, is how a relatively new band can top themselves thereafter. Young the Giant hasn’t. With three albums out they have, debatably, yet to produce a song that’s as catchy and memorable as their 2011 hit. That’s not saying they haven’t made good music; their most recent album, “Home of the Strange” (2016), is full of great jams, most notably “Amerika,” “Something to Believe in,” and “Silvertounge.”
With a solid album behind them, Young was ready for a tour.
Young the Giants’ “Home of the Strange” Tour recently made a stop by the Villa Hispana at Expo New Mexico. The group took to the stage with openers Joywave and Cold War Kids. The latter ended up performing a better opening, as Joywave’s music fell flat with the arriving audience. Cold War Kids seemed to follow the winning recipe for what constitutes a good concert.
First: start with an anthem to get the audience’s attention. Next, follow with a few upbeat and driving songs to keep said attention, then transition into slower territory to show your band’s diverse range of sound. Finally: build up to your last few songs and close with a recent hit, which for the Cold War Kids, was their 2014 single, “First.” Before leaving the stage, they made sure to acknowledge audience participation and sign a few vinyls.
Cold War Kids had a good set, but I wouldn’t consider it memorable. It’s not a performance I’ll be reminiscing in a year or so. As for Young the Giant, I had a completely different reaction. I’m not a diehard fan of Young the Giant, and the same could be said for Cold War Kids, but they headlined the gig in an extraordinary way.
The stage lights dropped before the main performance, and all that could be heard was the white noise of a car radio. As the chaos built up, the radio began to switch from Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” to Green Day’s “American Idiot” to Kendrick Lamar’s “XXX” before landing on the opening instrumentals to the Young The Giant’s “Amerika” — and the band took to the stage.
From there, lead singer Sameer Gadhia danced his way through the night with a truly fun performance. Admittedly, I only knew one of the bands songs before attending their show on the 17th, and I wish I had listened to more of their music before attending.
On most tracks, I found myself so caught up in how jovial the atmosphere was, I tried to sing along to songs I had never heard before. In past concerts, I’ve found myself in the back, casually listening and maybe bobbing my head to the show before me, but on this occasion, I found the urge to dance more expressive than ever.
My only real critique for Young’s performance was that it felt as if they blew their best songs right out of the gate. Their most known song, “Cough Syrup,” was played earlier into the night, a seemingly missed opportunity for a notable climax. But, as I said above, the show was a blast to attend anyway. To close off the night, Young played their new song, “Silvertongue,” which has the most potential to be their next big hit.
Overall I’d be happy to attend one of their future shows if they ever stop back in the Land of Enchantment.
Colton Newman is a writer for Daily Lobo Music. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.