Photos by Morgan Winston
Young the Giant’s highly-anticipated return to Madison was an absolute dream. In the years since their amazing performance at the Orpheum in 2015, the band has released two full-length albums. LA-based Sure Sure warmed up the crowd with their charming tunes, including the dance-along number “Hands Up Head Down.” Young the Giant’s set opened with the masterful tune “Oblivion,” with frontman Sameer Gadhia’s voice cutting through the darkness to introduce the crowd to the Mirror Master Tour. The slow build of this opening song offered a preview for the rest of the night. Young the Giant played with a well-crafted setlist that ebbed and flowed without losing intensity.
Pulling from the strongest of their multitude of releases, Young the Giant easily put on one of the most entertaining and complex shows Madison has seen in a while. Although nostalgic throwbacks like “Apartment” and “Cough Syrup” were fun to hear live once again, newer songs like “Nothing’s Over” and “Mind Over Matter” completely upstaged them. Gadhia was a joy to watch all night, moonwalking, jumping, and dancing across the Sylvee’s stage. The production of the show was a visual treat, with lighting tailored to each song. The red and blue lights were to be expected for “Amerika,” but during one of the quieter moments in “Firelight,” all of the lights were cut except for two soft lights on stage pointed directly at Gadhia. In this moment, as well as many other moments throughout the night, the crowd was eating out of his hand.
Their regular set ended with “Call Me Back” which would have been an out-of-choice place if the band hadn’t been preparing the audience for it all night. By withholding a major indie pop hit, the hunger for an encore was compounded. When Young the Giant finally took the stage for their final four songs, the crowd was ready to dance. Punchy fan-favorite “Superposition” was the best moment of the night, with the light and airy mandolin and underlying bass making it a behemoth of live performance. Sure Sure joined the band onstage during “My Body,” offering a final moment where everyone in the venue was celebrating a phenomenal show.
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