Young the Giant w/Lights @ MTelus – November 9, 2018

While Young the Giant was the headliner they were especially generous with their opening act, Canadian musician Lights. By generous I mean that she was given 40 minutes onstage, with which she was able to play 10 songs, or a good 10-15 minutes longer than your typical opener. Despite the fact that she looks like a lithe teen, Lights is 31-years-old and a veteran of the music scene.

Normally she headlines her own shows across this country, so it was interesting to see her as an opening act. I had not seen her do that since 2009 when she opened for Brit band Keane. On this time around her set was comprised largely of songs from her latest album Skin & Earth, which was a companion piece to a 6 part comic book she wrote and illustrated. Multi-talented lady!

After being a staple on pop radio for pretty much a decade, she is now transitioning into a more rock sound. What remains is that voice, which is the centerpiece of whatever she does. It is powerful and combined with her stage presence it is a winner for music fans.

Doing their part to warm up the large crowd jammed into MTelus  Young the Giant poured out energy throughout their over 90 minute set. Raining hard on this damp cold night, the band from California brought the heat along with them. Together since 2004, they are certainly not rookies. They know what they want to do and how to go about it. First is the largely high tempo alternative music and second is the charisma oozing out of lead singer Sameer Gadhia. The result is is fun, solid music and a night in which the crowd was invested in from the get go.

Gadhia moves around the stage like a combination of a snake and someone doing Tai Chi. Sounds like an odd combo, but trust me it works. Crowd was lapping it up. However you want to describe him it works. That combined with the fact that he has a rather mallable or flexible voice makes for a winning night of music. To add to the variety his voice offers he also uses a variety of vocal modifiers. All this adds up to the construction of a night of music in which there is plenty of diversity of sound.

As I was not very familiar with the band before seeing them live on this evening, I did not know that drummer Francois Comtois was from Montreal. He spoke to crowd briefly in French and screams ensued. Plus he sang lead briefly on one song. Nice voice! Guitarist Eric Cannata also sang lead on part of one song and demonstrated that he too has a good voice. Embarrassment of riches, I’d say.

Their set was expertly constructed with precious few lulls. Crowd favourites like “Cough Syrup”, “Tightrope” and night closer “My Body” elicited huge responses. A nice change of pace happened right in the  middle of set when the band unplugged from a couple of songs from their appreciated In the Open sessions. “Strings” and “Firelight” slowed it down a little without losing momentum.

Admitting up front I am not a rock or alternative fan by any means, but I can tell when a band (no matter the genre) stages a winning combo. The fans were all satisfied with Young the Giant. More than satisfied. Ecstatic! Screaming! They give off the feeling that they are a college band playing in a garage somewhere, loving what they do and doing it without any pretense. Their enjoyment of what they are doing certainly seeped into the crowd and carried them along for the entire evening on a wave of music appreciation.

 

Lights Setlist:

  1.  From All Sides
  2. Until the Light
  3. Savage
  4. New Fears
  5. Running With the Boys
  6. Almost Had Me
  7. We Were Here
  8. Moonshine
  9. Lovefool (Cardigans cover)
  10. Giants

Young the Giant Setlist:

  1. Mirror Master
  2. Heat of the Summer
  3. Apartment
  4. Titus Was Born
  5. Oblivion
  6. Something to Believe In
  7. Strings (In the Open)
  8. Firelight (In the Open)
  9. Amerika
  10. Panoramic Girl
  11. Cough Syrup
  12. Mind Over Matter
  13. Nothing’s Over
  14. Call Me Back

Encore:

15. Superposition

16. Tightrope

17. Silvertongue

18. My Body

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