Amidst the concerns of Hurricane Hilary rolling through Mexico and parts of Southern California, indie rock legends Young The Giant prepared for a heartfelt show in their hometown of Irvine, California. The air was textured with excitement and humidity as fans journeyed into FivePoint Amphitheatre, hoping that the rain would not end the night abruptly. The impressive 12,000+ capacity amphitheater was nearly full, hinting that the night would be memorable.
Young The Giant kicked off their summer 2023 tour in late May, beginning with our neighbors way up north in Montreal, Canada. The 5-man band from California, alongside German rockers Milky Chance, played to an impressive 46 shows all across the country, hitting all of the big stops– Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Miami, Austin, Phoenix, and many others–leading up to their final show of the tour. Young the Giant began in early 2004 under the former name The Jakes, which eventually switched due to changes in members of the band. They adopted the name Young The Giant in January of 2010 and were set on the path to create and finish their self-titled debut album in 2011, which was well-received upon release. Since then, the band has released 4 albums in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2022 respectively, with each piece exemplifying their improvements as artists, instrumentalists, and sound curators over the years.
With over a decade under their belts amongst the greats in indie rock music today, fans were expecting a setlist full of hits.
Rosa Linn, the talented Armenian singer/songwriter opened the night with her high energy ballads and ripping guitar chords. Her incredible rise has shown her unique sound and vision, from representing her country in the 2022 Eurovision songwriting competition, to instant TikTok fame, signing with Columbia Records, and eventually touring the United States/Europe in shows and festivals with the likes of Young The Giant, Khalid, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes. Her hits, such as “SNAP” had the crowd captivated as they ferociously sang back the chorus. The song has over 759 million streams on Spotify with an additional 179 million from remixes and versions of that song alone.
Milky Chance was the next to take the stage, opening to their groovy “Synchronize” as the sun set into a brilliant orange and pink mix, making people forget about the severe storm warning that was blanketing the area. With their mix of indie, electronic, and jazz arrangements, the band took over the attention of the crowd as they danced to their impressive light displays and rhythm. Lead singer and guitarist Clemens Rehbein’s distinct voice complimented the melodic tones on songs like ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Flashed Junk Mind’. Fans were also treated to a moody cover of 80s hit “Tainted Love”’ by Soft Cell before closing with fan favorites “Stolen Dance” and “Sweet Sun”.
Young The Giant entranced the eagerly awaiting hometown crowd with a compelling video that encapsulated their artistic vision as a band. The band commonly touches on themes of fatherhood, seeking purpose, and finding contentment in life within their songwriting. Fittingly enough, lead singer Sameer Gadhia gave the crowd a heartfelt speech, noting that his dad was in attendance, along with his own son and wife, dedicating his song “My Way” to them. Their setlist soared on songs like “Something To Believe In”, “Dollar $tore”, and “Silvertongue”. Attendees were treated to fan favorites like “I Got”, “Cough Syrup”, and “Mind Over Matter” that sent a wave of nostalgia going back to their first albums and humble beginnings. The emotional peak of the set came during their slow jam “Firelight”, where Sameer provided words of introspection to the crowd, inviting them to release their negative feelings and attachments into the atmosphere. This prompted a sea of lighters and flashlights during the bridge of the song. They ended their set with “My Body” and sent the crowd home overjoyed and in a new, happier state of being.
Young The Giant’s set felt as cathartic for the band members as it did for the crowd. The inevitable rain, similar to life’s many hardships and challenges, held off long enough for fans to be left with the sunny optimism of Young The Giant’s lyrics that provided introspection, inspiring them to take their lives in a more positive direction.
The band could not have asked for a better end to their tour than an impactful hometown show, defying even Mother Nature.