Young the Giant | 03.29.12

Like chasing an energy drink with fine scotch: both great on their own, just not right after the other.




The Pageant, St. Louis

Some opener/headliner combinations sound like they were made for each other…and then the show starts. At the Pageant Thursday night, this seemed to be the case.

Openers Grouplove created a feeling of euphoria among the crowd. Many audience members jumped frantically with the ever-changing lead-singer of the band. Though Christian Zucconi saw most of the lead vocal duties, keyboardist Hannah Hooper did her best job getting their new fans hyped as she danced, jumped, and head banged.

Bassist Sean Gadd and lead guitarist Andrew Wessen also took their shot at lead vocals during the all-too-short nine-song set. The band proclaimed it was their first appearance in St. Louis. A return trip seems all the more important, as Grouplove surely gained the fandom of most of the sold-out crowd.

After what seemed to be a direct espresso shot into the bloodstream, the largely young crowd was extremely hyped for Young the Giant, making only its second appearance in St. Louis after a show last summer at the Firebird. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia may croon like Sinatra, but he looks the part of an Urban Outfitters ad. On this night, however, Gadhia seemed to be struggling with a sore throat and often used a throat spray that didn’t quite keep his voice from cracking on occasion.

Despite his obvious illness the show went on, but after the shot of energy that Grouplove injected, Young the Giant’s set list filled with new tracks, “Shake My Hand,” “What You Get,” and b-side “Every Little Thing” did not quite seem to keep the crowd excited early. Still, the new tracks seemed promising (if not extremely far off), with the band admitting the new album won’t be out until next summer. Single “Cough Syrup” injected much-needed energy into the crowd, though it seemed to be a much slower version. “Strings” also induced a heavy, California-style vibe that left the crowd relaxed but excited. Gadhia then took a seat at the keyboard and worked his way through another new track, “Camera”; this also sounds promising, but put a large portion of the crowd into a near slumber.

Main set closer “St. Walker” brought perhaps the highlight of the entire night as the band ended in a fervor, their light setup providing enough strobe to both awe and cause seizures. The night would not include a recently introduced version of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix),” which was slightly disappointing. The band ended on a high note regardless, with spotless versions of “Apartment,” “Islands,” and “My Body,” which had the entire crowd waving their hands in the air and jumping, as well as Gadhia taking in a light session of crowd-surfing.

The night left many in the crowd discussing how the show was “all right” or even “good”; not many people, though, seemed to leave feeling as though the show was great, or all that memorable. It seems to reason that either Grouplove or Young the Giant on their own may have had a better shot at getting the desired response out of the crowd. The night in general seemed to leave a less-than-desirable aftertaste, perhaps like chasing an energy drink with fine scotch: both great on their own, just not right after the other. | Bruce Matlock


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