Live Review: Young The Giant // Electric Ballroom // 25.9.19

Many of us in the UK won’t realise quite how big Young The Giant are.

The Californian quintet sell-out arena shows and threatens the upper rows of festival posters in the US, whilst remaining almost niche on this side of the Atlantic.

Perhaps this is the reason that there is such a sense of affinity in Camden’s Electric Ballroom tonight, as singer Sameer Gadhia takes to the stage alongside the rest of the group to perform to the crowd of 1,500 – intimate, by YTG’s standards.

This isn’t to say that the US outfit have failed to make an impact on the Britannia music scene. During previous visits, Young the Giant have performed on Jools Holland’s landmark BBC series and British music legend Morrissey once said of the band: “If there is any justice in the world (and we all know there isn’t) Young The Giant will own most of it by August.”

The opening four tracks of the evening span three of the group’s quartet of albums, each of which are gratefully received by loyal Londoners who have waited half a decade to see YTG return to the city.

The evening continues with a steady groove – a groove which overcomes the threat posed by an insufficient volume level within the venue – and Young The Giant exercise just how well their catalogue of tracks can engage with the British public.

The 5-piece offer a brand of jangly, light-hearted indie that was once rife on our airwaves; sitting entirely independently from both the limp, sentimental output of Maroon 5 and the coldly intellectual demeaner offered by the likes of Foals and The 1975.

This may not be an act that will bother the columns of broadsheet music critics, or the inboxes of Mercury Prize judges, but as YTG drop their biggest hit to date, ‘Cough Syrup’, the energy in the room is undeniable and it is difficult for any amount of intellect to be applied to the joy of waiting five years to see one of your favourite bands – a feeling that appears to be experienced all around me.

Young The Giant return to the stage to perform a four-track encore, with Sameer donning a bejewelled cloak for crowd-pleasing tracks such as Silvertongue, ‘My body’ and recent hit, ‘Superposition’.

With their frequent forays in the US charts, and sold-out shows at historic venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, it is not unjust to assume that YTG will never quite reach the same heights on this side of the pond.

This needn’t be a bad thing though, as there is unquestionably enough love here for their repertoire of accessible indie tunes, a love which only appears to be intensified by the apparent exclusivity of their fanbase.

“We promise we will be back very soon”, Sameer pledges to the Camden audience. Whether very soon may be another 5 years or 5 weeks, the mood in the room gives me the impression that there will still be a loyal fanbase here to greet them whenever they do return.

Words by Matt Ganfield

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Matt Ganfield

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