Young The Giant hits KC with ‘Guns Out’

Mal Hartigan

GROUPLOVE’s opening set demanded audience attention with intricate lighting and polished vocals.
GROUPLOVE’s opening set demanded audience attention with intricate lighting and polished vocals.

Sold-out tour with supporting artist GROUPLOVE surpasses expectations

Young The Giant and supporting artist GROUPLOVE’s sold-out performance packed thousands of eager fans into Kansas City’s Midland Theatre on Friday, causing traffic to back up Main Street for several blocks.

Fans darted across the street between cars while hopefuls stood outside, begging for extra tickets.

Young The Giant and GROUPLOVE have experienced enormous success during their recent tour. The Midland’s tickets sold out only six weeks after the show was announced, said Julie Lichtenstein, Director of Publicity and Media Relations at Roadrunner Records and Young The Giant’s publicist.

Filled to capacity, fans swarmed the Midland’s stage while screaming praises and pressing each other against the guardrail. On the balcony, they danced and swayed to each energetic performance. The intricate lighting and clouds of cigarette smoke complemented the theater’s ambiance, providing an authentic experience.

GROUPLOVE and Young The Giant proved to be more than just musical artists, but also adept stage performers. Because neither band stood stagnant on stage, the audience followed suit.

The liveliness offset the usual ritual of motionless spectators with arms crossed. Lichtenstein said every performance for the current tour sold out, some even faster than Friday’s impressive six week mark.

Young the Giant’s vocalist Sameer Gadhia’s energetic stage presence thrilled Friday’s crowd.
Young the Giant’s vocalist Sameer Gadhia’s energetic stage presence thrilled Friday’s crowd.

Though a sold-out tour is a massive accomplishment, both bands quickly crossed over to stardom and rose as musical icons. Both appeal to a diverse audience, executing catchy but musically complex material and gained exposure through popular media outlets.

Headliner Young The Giant recently exploded onto the music scene with the popular single “Cough Syrup.” The smash hit reached number 2 at Alternative radio, ranked number 5 for the top Alternative songs of 2011 and was featured on an episode of Glee.

Young The Giant vocalist Sameer Gadhia’s charisma permeated the theatre as he leaned into the microphone, soulfully crooning each song.

During instrumental breaks he danced rhythmically with a tambourine, coaxing the audience to clap on-beat and sway accordingly.

Guitarist Jacob Tilley stood atop his amp for a solo and worked closely with Payam Doostzadeh on bass and guitarist/vocalist Eric Cannata.

Each band member fed off of each other’s energy, surpassing fans’ expectations.

The live performance delivered a personal, memorable experience for each fan. Even better, Young The Giant combats bands that only sound professional in the studio. Each song sounded identical, if not more creative, than the original recordings.

Gadhia thanked the crowd for attending and insisted the Midland Theatre was the most beautiful venue the band had performed at thus far. His speech segued into popular singles “Cough Syrup” and ended with “My Body,” which fans sang in unison.

The headlining performance wasn’t the only memorable event. The supporting band GROUPLOVE, the new face of indie/alternative, emerged in 2009 with its debut album “Never Trust A Happy Song,” receiving a positive response.

The group quickly attracted fans with its versatile and polished sound.

NPR exposure and the group’s popular single “Tongue Tied” in Apple’s iPod Touch commercial helped GROUPLOVE become a beacon in the indie-pop world.

GROUPLOVE’s stage presence demanded listeners’ attention with keys/vocalist Hannah Hooper bobbing on-beat with enthusiastic tambourine. Christian Zucconi, Hooper and Andrew Wessen’s live vocals all contributed different layers to each song, providing rich harmonies.

Producer/drummer Ryan Rabin’s snare and crash cymbal performance fueled an energetic outro, and the band exited with the crowd’s ecstatic praises.

Both bands demonstrated the reason behind their imminent success and left fans satisfied.

“Even though I was exhausted, I appreciated the high energy the bands provided during their sets,” said attendee Taylor Dishon. “The song ‘My Body’ was a perfect end to the show. Gadhia even jumped into the crowd, leaving me wanting more.”

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