Words by Yasmeen Yahya
On a cool, “autumn” day in Houston, in a rowdy concert hall, in section 206, row B, seat 12, you would find me looking very much in love. This was because I was absorbing the light source that is Young the Giant.
My relationship with Young the Giant is as strong as it is old. This California-based band is my real high school sweetheart. Since I was 14 years-old, Young the Giant has never failed to ensnare my heart and my spirit. It isn’t hard to see why.
Young the Giant is a band that truly has the “it” factor. As a collective and as individuals, they have unbelievable talent, spirit, and vision. Their newest album release Home of the Strange is an extended narrative from the perspective of each member of the band; the album is a collection of stories about living in America as an immigrant or first-generation American. In an interview with National Public Radio, lead vocalist Sameer Ghadia said, “I think it’s maybe my narrative as a first-generation American. We have a lot of ties to India and that heritage and the tradition and the philosophy, cultural practices. But then, you know, we grew up here. And my parents, more than anyone, wanted me to find success and chase that American – elusive American dream. And so Home of the Strange, I think, is the place in between those two places.” As a first-generation American myself, I quickly identified and attached to this album, as did many others who share the same story.
It is obvious that for their “Home of the Strange tour, the band had a clear vision of the what they wanted their audience to experience. As a long-time devoted fan, I have been able to see their shows transform over the last four years. In general, many bands have started to add more visuals to their shows, and Young the Giant is no exception. Their setup mimicked the cover art of Home of the Strange, emphasizing their devotion to this album and its overall meaning. During more intimate songs such as, “Titus Was Born” and “Art Exhibit,” the backdrop faded to black and behind it, lights illuminated to look like the night sky.
Although the show production was well executed, what truly made the concert memorable was the band’s energy and passion. The energy throughout the concert hall was truly electrifying. Ghadia’s soulful, passionate, and powerful lead vocals tantalized the senses; the vivacity of his lively, yet borderline-bad dancing never wavered.
Although it is a parasocial relationship, I like to think that Young the Giant and I are in a long-distance relationship. Maybe, that is a bit much, but, each time I see them I feel as if I am reunited with an old part of myself. However, it is somehow different now. We have both grown, changed, and learned.
And I cannot wait to meet again.