The guys in indie-rock band Young the Giant may all hail from California (and attended that state's fine array of institutions of higher learning, such as Stanford, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and others), but they still have a tie to the Midwest — and, more specifically, Indiana University, where they played a stop on the Yahoo On the Road series Monday night.
"Our booking agent is from this school," announced frontman Sameer Gadhia to the crowd, which responded promptly with roars. "The first place he ever booked was this school."
It was all in the family for YTG, who transfixed the Bloomington, Indiana crowd with an hour-plus set of its own particular brand of emotional, melodic rock — a sound that's won fans ranging from alt pioneer Morrissey to the producers of Glee (the band's hit single "Cough Syrup" was covered on the show in 2012).
The college crowd was massively appreciative of the entire setlist — but was more quiet than most rock concert audiences, most likely due to the hypnotic effect of Gadhia's plaintive vocals and the band's overall heartbreakingly romantic tone. Still, the audience did rise nicely to the occasion with regular surges of approval, such as a gorgeous clap-along to YTG's "Waves," from YTG's sophomore album Mind Over Matter, which was released in January.
Gadhia himself didn't spare the drama, breaking into screams during "Teachers," while the spectators breathlessly held silent, drinking in his impassioned performance.
The band, which formed back in 2004 and wrote and demoed much of Mind Over Matter in a house they were sharing, demonstrated a consistent sense of familiarity (and yes, indeed, almost a family vibe) as they rocked through a setlist containing all of their biggest hits, including the aforementioned "Cough Syrup" as well as "It's About Time" and "My Body," the latter of which got the grooving crowd inspired to make some serious noise.
Young the Giant also took time out before the show to answer questions about their music, influences, and evolution from their debut to their successful second album.