Young the Giant at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN

Young the Giant @ Ascent Amphitheater, Nashville | Photo by Gary Johnson

California quintet Young the Giant approaches the halfway point of their Summer Tour 2023 and brings their new album American Bollywood to Music City.

Armenian singer-songwriter Rosa Linn opened the evening solo, playing with just some guitars and her loop pedal. Most of Linn’s set consisted of songs from her newly released EP Lay Your Hands Upon My Heart. The songs she performed are normally driven by guitars, strings, synths, and drums, and were substituted with a breathtaking mix of background vocals, tracks, and improvised sounds to help recreate the songs herself.

After a quick stage change, the German rock band Milky Chance walked on stage to a loud roar of excited fans. They opened their set with “Synchronize,” a song from their new album Living In A Haze. The song begins with a rock sound, but once the song gets going it becomes almost entirely electronic. “Better Off,” which came later in the set, follows the same sound.

The majority of their songs are more of a combination of rock and pop, which is true for their next few songs, some of which include “Ego” and “Down By The River,” from their debut album back in 2014. Around the midpoint in their set, they performed a cover of Gloria Jones’ “Tainted Love.”

Captivating lights and color schemes filled the venue during every song. Milky Chance played their first and most popular song “Stolen Dance” with over one billion streams on Spotify and that got everyone out of their seats. Throughout their last few songs, tons of couples and groups of friends were dancing together and singing along. They ended their set with “Sweet Sun.” As they exited the stage, the audience thanked them with joyful screams and shouts.

American Bollywood, Young the Giant’s fifth studio album and the first since 2018’s Mirror Master, was released on November 16th of last year. The album has been described as a depiction of the journey of lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s parents. They emigrated in 1984 from India to America, where Sameer was born. The album traces his own struggle to preserve a cultural identity while finding his way in Southern California’s Orange County.

American Bollywood is separated into four acts, and Young the Giant performed their set in a similar respect. As the five-man band walked on stage, there was a video projection from the music video for the album’s title song “American Bollywood” playing, which was the opening song. This first portion of the set represented Act I. The band followed with “Wake Up,” “Something to Believe In,” and “Cough Syrup,” a fan favorite from their debut album.

Another video played afterward, representing the beginning of Act II—Exile. This portion began with “The Walk Home.” The combination of opening guitar chords, the drum pattern, and Sameer Gadhia’s lead vocals might remind some of a song from the 80s. The rock band followed with “I Got” and “Nothing’s Over,” from their debut album and Home of the Strange, respectively. Before ending this act, Gadhia spoke a little about the album and continued after pointing out that it’s been four years since they’ve been here at Ascend Amphitheater.

Act III: Battle also began with a video. This act contained “Dollar $tore” and “Cult of Personality,” and ended with “Heat of the Summer,” another favorite. Act IV: Denouement followed the trend and also started with a video. This act also contained three songs, ending with “Mind Over Matter.”

The five members of Young the Giant exited the stage and the crowd immediately began screaming and chanting for an encore. A few minutes later, the band returned to play five songs which included the popular tracks “Superposition” and “My Body.”

Young the Giant is still on the road and has a bunch of dates left. Make sure to check if they are coming to yours and give American Bollywood a listen!

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About Gary Johnson 14 Articles
Gary is a portrait and music photographer based in Nashville, TN. His love for music began at an early age, so much so that he got his degree in Music Business. But along the way, he fell in love with photography–capturing the intimate moments in our lives.