For the local music fan who might never spend money on a ticket to see Adam Lambert of Three Dog Night, the sole reason for the Pacific Amphitheater's existence is to welcome the return of bands who've gone out into the record industry wilderness and come back rockstars. And if you can pack that sucker, then by god, you've made it. Not only did Young the Giant manage to fill every seat in the brisk night air the OC Fair venue, but they knew exactly how to handle them last night. Reaching the end of their summer tour, the were as confident as if were playing just a few miles away at their old Detroit Bar stomping grounds.
Caught up in a swirl of strobes and hazy, purple fog, the five-piece outfit sauntered on stage and took a brief minute to absorb the scene before them before launching into cuts from their eponymous debut (which by now seems like a lifetime ago for the band who've toured on it nonstop since it came out in 2011). Led by the lofty crooning of vocalist Sameer Gadhia, the band began their set with the spry snare drum rhythm of “I Got,” that immediately set the tone of an emotive, mostly recognizable set with the added bonus of big budget production value the band would've never gotten a couple years ago.
Probably the most impressive aspect of the band's show, other than hearing fans as far back as the lawn seats sing the words to tracks like “12 Fingers” and their radio hit “Cough Syrup,” were the spaces where the band introduced some of their newer material. Gadhia, along with drummer Fancois Comtois, bassist Payam Doostzadeh and guitarists Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata seemed especially sure of their new jam “Teachers” which, in addition to introducing synth tones and vocal pedal effects into their sound, is probably the fastest song we've ever heard them play. Twisting, jumping and writhing around on stage, Cannata and Gadhia were more than eager to show the crowd a glimpse of where the band is heading. They also shared a much calmer, organ-driven hymn called “Cameras” that conversely is the slowest we've heard them go since “Islands,” which they performed in their encore along with “My Body,” the song that landed their main career highlight at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.