Concert Review: Young The Giant – 2/1/2017 – Portland, OR (Roseland Theater)

From time to time I enjoy watching bands I really like and going to concerts at new venues [1], especially when those concerts are reasonably priced, and overall this was an enjoyable experience, albeit a complicated one.  After all, the evening began with me parking my car at the Powell’s car garage and browsing through the bookstacks and then waiting in the cold in a line that was a block and a half by the time that the venue opened at 7PM.  I happened to be standing next to an attractive young lady from Hood River who happened to be a student at Mt. Hood Community College and had gone to the concert by herself because none of her friends happened to like the band.  We chatted quite a bit before my old feet and the presence of balcony seating above the floor in the 21+ section led me to bid a reluctant farewell to my new acquaintance and find a place to write and sit in peace without having to worry about the suffering of my poor feet.  And the night ended with the crowd slowly moving outside before I rushed to retrieve my car from the car garage just before it closed at 11PM.  All in all, it was a success, but a success of a particularly odd and Nathanish kind.

The venue itself is an excellent one.  Although the concert did not sell out rapidly, the crowd was standing room only on both the balcony and the floor, with little room to move around, and the venue itself was excellent.  One could feel the music through the balcony, which is a good thing when the music is enjoyable and one can dance and move along to it as some of us (myself included) tend to do.  The seats were reasonably comfortable for being made of wood and the staff at the Roseland Theater was very solicitous about asking the patrons seated if they wanted to drink.  I had to politely decline at least a couple of requests and I did not leave the area at all during the course of the concert, being too busy listening, singing along, moving my head, and scribbling down my notes.  The crowd was well-mixed, with everyone from lovesick teenage couples to cynical middle aged people in the audience.  I sat next to someone who drank a handful of rum and cokes and looked up song lyrics and did some videotaping and went to the restroom a couple of times during the performance, and I was intrigued by how broad and deep a range of fans that Young The Giant have, with nearly every song, even the deep album cuts, being known by a large percentage of the audience, and with a general friendliness among the fans even to the very new group that opened for them.

With that, let us move to the music.  The opening act, which ended up going close to ten minutes over their half-hour allotment, was a New York-based band called Lewis Del Mar.  Although the singing of the presumably eponymous lead singer was more than a little bit difficult to understand, the band played energetic music that had elements of cod reggae along with some solid guitar work and excellent drumming.  The keyboard player was brand new and did a great job, even providing some excellent backing vocals on a couple of the songs.  While I am not sure that I would buy any of the music of the band at this particular point in their development, at least not unless the studio cuts were a lot easier to understand than they were live, I would enjoy listening to at least a few of their songs, like “Waves” and “Tap Water Drinking” on the radio, the latter with a fantastic ending guitar and drum solo and some explosive lyrical content about a passionate relationship,almost making this frequently dehydrated person wish that he had some water to drink for himself.

But the opening act was only an opening for the first night of the Home Of The Strange Tour by Young The Giant.  I have missed out on seeing these guys before, but it was an excellent performance, as the band mixed up hit singles as well as more obscure album cuts, a few crowd-pleasers from the band’s first album and quite a few songs from their most recent album, which reminds me that I should probably find more of their music for my own collection at a reasonable price, given that they are a band I reference in my blog at least occasionally [2].  That aside, I consider any concert where the performance is inspired, where the audience is clearly in tune with the artist, and where the band is able to dig deep for amusing stories a good one.  This concert certainly had all of that–Sameer joked about the inability of Italian audiences to pronounce “cough” in the introduction to “Cough Syrup” and managed to get political for a bit when he celebrated immigrants and the children of immigrants in light of contemporary political concerns, but thankfully those political moments were few and far between.  For the most part, the focus was on music, and it was on great music.  Among the highlights of the concert was seeing Sameer work so hard as a secondary percussionist with the tambourine and other quirky instrumentation.  Overall, Young The Giant did an excellent job in introducing audiences to their latest album while also playing a few older songs, and here is hoping that the tour continues to go strong along the rest of its march across America.

Setlist for Lewis Del Mar:

“Find My Love”
“Puerto Cabezas, NI”
“Tap Water Drinking”
“Malt Liquor”

Set list for Young The Giant:

“Jungle Youth”
“Something To Believe In”
“Higher” (?)
“Director” (?)
“Titus Was Born”
“Cough Syrup”
“Mr. Know-It-All”
“Mind Over Matter”
“Art Exhibit”
“Nothing’s Over”
“Home Of The Strange”
Encore:  “Amerika”
“My Body”

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s