Young The Giant's Live Show Arrests Throng of Fans at White Oak Music Hall

Sameer Gadhia of Young The Giant onstage at White Oak Music Hall
Sameer Gadhia of Young The Giant onstage at White Oak Music Hall Photo by Matthew Keever
Young The Giant, Fitz And The Tantrums
The Lawn at White Oak Music Hall
July 7, 2019

It’s been two years since Young The Giant last performed in Houston. During their absence, the group released their most vulnerable and polarizing record to date, 2018's Mirror Master.

Mirror Master
wasn't a bad album, but it didn't engross longtime fans the way Home of the Strange, Mind Over Matter and the self-titled debut did. Critics haven't been unkind to the Californian rock outfit, but reviews haven't been altogether flattering either.

On tour in support of this record, the California quintet brought their unique blend of alt-rock and indie-pop to The Lawn at White Oak Music Hall on Sunday night, supported by Fitz And The Tantrums. And pundits be damned, because the group's fanbase in the Bayou City had clearly grown restless since their last visit.

Young The Giant performed plenty of their well-known hits on this humid July evening, including "Cough Syrup" and "My Body," while making time for a few deep cuts and some newer tunes, including "Superposition" and "Heat Of The Summer."

With lights dancing around him, vocalist Sameer Gadhia sauntered about the stage for nearly 90 minutes, enticing cheers from the crowd during his band's heavier songs and subduing them with ease during the softer cuts.

Quieter songs tend to cause problems with Houston’s infamously rowdy crowds, but Gadhia had the audience with him all evening. During the intro to "Titus Was Born" — which began with softly strummed guitar and falsetto vocals — a hush fell over the lawn, and it held until the song ended and fans erupted with applause.

Fittingly, given the recent holiday, Young The Giant made time to play a number of tracks from their politically-driven third album, including “Amerika” and “Home Of The Strange." But despite this political bent, Sunday night's performance stressed unity.

About halfway through the show, before "Firelight," Gadhia asked fans to turn and introduce themselves to the people standing next to them, adding that we all have a light inside of us that's worth sharing with the world.

“Thanks for allowing us to do what we do," the front man said before launching into "Panoramic Girl." "This next one is a new one about seeing the full picture of your dreams.”

And no matter where fans were standing on The Lawn at White Oak Music Hall, the view was fantastic.

Before Young The Giant, an energetic Fitz And The Tantrums warmed the crowd up with a set that brought to mind the now-defunct Free Press Summer Fest.

Temperatures didn’t fall below 90° until after 8 p.m., so fans were drenched in sweat and melted popsicles, courtesy of Popston. Half the crowd was strewn across the lawn, as if they’d melted right where they had been standing, while those left standing supplemented the band's performance with hand-claps and occasional sing-alongs.

In between their hits, Fitz And The Tantrums peppered their set with songs from their upcoming album, including their latest single “All The Feels,” an upbeat tune that would fit in just fine alongside the likes of Ed Sheeran’s “I Don’t Care” and Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down" on the radio.

“The rest of Texas don’t got nothing on you guys,” vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick said near the end of his band's set. “Through this barren heat, you guys have been with us since the first song.”

Well, we've had plenty of practice.

(Young The Giant)
Something To Believe In
Heat Of The Summer
Panoramic Girl
Nothing's Over
Home Of The Strange
Titus Was Born
Cough Syrup
I Got
Call Me Back
Mind Over Matter
My Body
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever