Written by Jane Ponte

It is always a great time when Young the Giant steps onto a stage and does their thing, and their show at Houston’s 713 Music Hall was no exception. Joined by 2 fantastic opening acts, Rosa Linn and co-headliner Milky Chance, YTG wowed their audience with old favorites and newer offerings from their most recent release, American Bollywood.

While it is true that many show reviews don’t focus too much on opening acts, I would be remiss in my duty as a lover of great artists and all things musical if I did not give some credit where credit is due and gush just a little bit about Rosa Linn and Milky Chance. Accompanied by just a guitar player, who was introduced as Jay, Linn opened the show to a packed venue and had her audience completely mesmerized by the time she finished her first song. Originally from Armenia, Linn held her captivated audience in the palm of her hand as she performed her original material, including her song “Snap,” which went viral on TikTok and charted globally fairly recently, landing her a recording contract with Columbia Records. Her most recent release, Lay Your Hands Upon My Heart, was showcased throughout the set and was well-received by her appreciative crowd. Look for this talented and passionate singer/songwriter in the months and years to come; she is just warming up and I expect great things from her in the future.

If I am being completely honest, I could say that listening to Linn and her accompanying guitarist all night would have been enough for me; they were just that great. But next up was Milky Chance, who hit the stage and came out swinging with a high-energy set that had the crowd dancing, swaying, and singing along to their better-known songs, including their number one pop single, “Stolen Dance.” This indie-pop band from Berlin, Germany, has energy for days, and provided their energetic and hyped-up audience to some of their older material, such as “Ego” and “Flash Junked Mind,” while mixing in newer material, such as “Feeling For You,” and “Better Off.” Combined with a fantastic light show and a very cool cover of “Tainted Love,” Milky Chance was a highlight of the evening, proving themselves to be fantastic live performers who come to slay. Although this was my first time seeing this band live, I would definitely go see them again. They are the real deal and they left their hearts on the stage with their high-energy, crowd-pleasing, stellar vibes performance.
Young the Giant was up next, and to say that I was stoked to hear this band for the first time live would be an understatement. I have been following them through their social media posts for some time now, and I’ve become a huge fan of front man Sameer Gadhia’s stage presence, delivery, and message since I discovered them many years ago. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to attend one of their shows, but I’m ecstatic that the timing was right and that I finally got to take part in one. It did not hurt that my friend and I were up close, because this is not a band I would ever choose to sit in the cheap seats for. Recently, the band released a 4-part album, American Bollywood, which has been remarkably well-received and has proven to be their most intimate and expansive album to date, touching on themes such as identity and the multi-generational journey of being an immigrant in America in its 4 parts.

The band hit the stage ready to deliver and emerged from the darkness following a brief video shown on 2 screens with a monologue that stated, “The story started long before we were born, but we don’t even know the plot. All we have is a nameless feeling, a restlessness that passes down from one generation to the next—one that asks, ‘What does it all mean?’” The band launched into “American Bollywood,” followed by one of my personal faves from their new release, “Wake Up.” By this time, I already knew that their crowd was in for a treat due to Gadhia’s emotive and energized delivery of these first 2 songs. The entire band kept up with Gadhia, although the focus throughout the evening appeared to be on Gadhia and his uncanny ability to draw his listeners in and keep them interested with his soulful delivery and passionate gyrations as he delivered a perfect performance. The other band members—Jacob Tilly (guitar), Erica Cannata (guitar), Payam Doostzadeh (bass), and Francois Comtois (drums), are no slouches either, and they laid down a killer groove both individually and collectively. This band is clearly one who has the ability to respond sonically to the contributions of one another in a way that makes the band shine brightly as a whole. Their chemistry is indeed palpable; it is a truly beautiful thing to witness and leaves its listeners shouting for more.

Much like their new album, YTG divided their performance into 4 parts, and while it was truly a cool and unique way to delight their fans, I was a tad dismayed that the show seemed to fly by in a flash. Perhaps this was because of the way the whole band smoothly and effortlessly delivered their material, or maybe it was because each song was better than the last and I did not want the performance to end. Regardless of the reason as to why this show felt so short, all in all, YTG performed 17 songs, including gems such as “Wake Up,” “Cough Syrup,” “Dancing in the Rain, “My Body,” and “Dollar $tore,” among others.
In a nutshell, this evening of music was definitely one for the books. Houston will be talking about this show for some time; it was an interactive and high-energy evening of music where every performer brought their best self to the stage, and that killer vibe was reciprocated by the fans who grooved all night long while singing along in appreciation. I went back to work the following day with snippets of YTG songs running through my head, and I’ve had them on repeat in my car ever since. Additionally, I’ve made plans to catch one of their upcoming shows in Colorado. This band is worth following and I’m pretty much fully obsessed now. Go catch one of their shows if you get a chance. It is truly a marvel to watch their synchronicity and their love of their craft. This band has all the right stuff and they love sharing it with their fans. This live performance was nothing short of a masterpiece. Go see them before they’re too big and start selling out arenas, because that’s what’s next for this incredible band. They’re just too good, and people are definitely paying attention to them. Come along for the ride and get on board. You’ll truly be glad you did.