Young the Giant @ the IU Auditorium 10/20/14
Mondays are usually reserved for a small handful of things – your respective preferred caffeine source, remembering all of the things you forgot to do over the weekend, and a large amount of complaining. The latter of the three may be just me, but you get the picture.
This past Monday was chock full of surprises, made evident by the line of IU students lined up around Showalter Fountain and the giant purple tour bus blocking the view of the IU Auditorium from far down 7th Street. The occasion was one that called for this unnatural spike in Monday energy – indie rock powerhouse Young the Giant had recently announced a free concert at the 3,000+ capacity venue that required only a downloaded voucher for students to get their tickets. As a result, IU students packed the venue (light up bracelets and all) to create one of the most unique concert experiences I, and many others, have ever witnessed.
Following an interesting, to say the least, opening slot from rapper and scratch artist Biz Markie, the stage setup shifted and the lights came down as Mind Over Matter opener “Slow Dive” hummed through the auditorium speakers and the band took the stage. Then, as seamlessly as is heard on the group’s most recent LP, the band busted into an electric rendition of “Anagram.” They powered through a setlist that stretched for almost 90 minutes and was equal parts intense and solemn. Every track had a huge impact on the Hoosier crowd, notably tracks like Mind Over Matter’s “Teachers,” “I Got” from the band’s debut (despite tuning issues early, the track still hit hard), and a cover of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix),” previously a staple in the band’s Chicago shows, based on audience requests. One of the most memorable moments from the show came when frontman Sameer Gadhia requested the crowd bust out whatever light sources they had (joking about the ability for fans to use lighters in a university building) to accompany their run through of “Firelight.” The audience obliged, pulling out phones, cameras, and anything else they could think of to engulf the entire venue in light. The atmosphere became magical, with the band’s hypnotizing performance being engulfed with LED lights and the hushed singing of almost 3,500 college students.
This may be a bit biased by personal experience, but Young the Giant is time and time again praised as one of the most consistently impressive live acts around today. On the rare occasion that the band’s quality on stage strays from that heard on their records, it is unquestionably for the better. The indie rock fan in all IU students were very thankful to have been offered an act of this caliber, and the group delivered without conviction. For those of you who were lucky enough to catch it – I think you may have just won yourself a “remember when” moment to cherish for a long long time.