Young the Giant at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, MI

Young the Giant kick off tour with an energetic set at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, with support from Lights.

Opening the show is Canadian electropop artist Lights. She has been building up a loyal following for years and based on the large crowd that has arrived early, tonight is no exception. There are even several youngsters on their parent’s shoulders in the audience. The lights dim and give rise to the opening notes of “From All Sides” from the 2014 deluxe edition of Little Machines. As she takes the stage, the fans let loose with cheers. Not one to stand still, she soon abandons the mic stand and is moving about the stage from side to side with artistic style.

Still touring in support of Skin & Earth, she mentions that many of the songs will be from it tonight. And with that, the band launches into “New Fears,” the first of 8 songs tonight from that album. It is followed up by the guitar-driven and gritty song “Savage” and then “Until the Light”. “Running With the Boys,” the only other song not from Skin & Earth gets the crowd bouncing. This song is always a fan favorite at live shows.

Her stage presence is quite dramatic, with emotions showing through facial expression and body movement during the songs.  Several times she drops to her knees and uses the mic stand as a prop.  Cool backlighting adds to the ambiance, especially when it makes her already red hair look like it’s on fire.  You can tell she loves what she is doing and appreciates the fan’s reactions as she smiles and laughs on many occasions.  In addition to her talents as a songwriter and singer, Lights also plays piano and guitar tonight. 

The popular single “Giants” closes out the set with fans singing along to the chorus.  It’s a great ending to her brief, but fun and entertaining set.  If anyone here was not a fan beforehand, I am sure many will be now.  Her performances are always electric, engaging, and well worth the price of admission.

Lights has a close connection with her fans through her engaging shows, social media, and her Skin & Earth comic book series.  In lieu of meet and greets on this tour, she is doing signings at local comic book shops.  She will be on tour with Young the Giant for a few weeks.  Be sure to catch her when the tour rolls through your town.

Young the Giant finally hit the stage to an astounding level of cheers. They kick it off with the upbeat and catchy title track of Mirror Master, that has lead singer Sameer Gadhia showing off his dance moves early. He is quite the charismatic frontman and leads the charge for the band. They follow it up with “Heat of the Summer,” another new song. 

Similar to Lights, their set is heavy on material from their current album Mirror Master, released on October 12. However, there are many songs to please all the fans from their other three studio releases. “Something to Believe In” from the 2016 release Home of the Strange is one of those songs. If you’re a fan of alternative rock, you would have to have had your head in the sand if you do not know this song as it was the second most popular song in the 2016 Alt Nation countdown.

“Simplify” was the first single from their new album and has the fans once again singing and waving along. They slow things for a bit with some acoustic versions of songs including “Strings” from their debut album and “Firelight” from the 2014 album “Mind Over Matter.” The latter has the crowd lighting up the venue with their cell phones.

Keeping this crowd engaged is no problem tonight, but the band does not let up. One of their early hits, “Cough Syrup,” gets the crowd singing and bouncing again. With “Nothing’s Over,” Sameer opens with finger-snapping and they seem to have jacked up the low end as you can feel Francois Comtois’s drums and Payam Doostzadeh’s bass throughout the venue. Smoke, strobes, and some cool red lighting add to the mood. They close out the main portion of their set with “Call Me Back.”

After a short break, the fan’s cheers call Young the Giant back to the stage for some encores. Maybe that last song of the main portion of their set had something to do with it. The dance song “Tightrope” has the crowd doing just that as they bop to the groove. The next encore is “Superposition” which, although quite a bit slower, has a cool vibe that has many singing along yet again.

As if that was not enough already, they have a few more songs in store for the fans. Starting with “Silvertongue,” a very popular song on the alternative radio airwaves in 2016-17, that continues to keep this wild crowd amped up. It is probably no surprise to anyone here tonight, that they have saved the best for last. Harkening back to their debut album, the anthem “My Body” has the crowd bouncing, waving, and singing to the whole song. A fitting song to close out a great set and evening to open the tour.  This band and crowd surely came to party and have a great time tonight.

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About Gary Pahlow 27 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.

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