Young the Giant w/ Cold War Kids and Joywave
WaMu Theater, Seattle, WA

WaMu Theater, Young the Giant’s venue for the night, is a small subsection of Centurylink Field and Event Center, adjacent to Safeco Field. Sound irrelevant? Usually it doesn’t matter, that is until concerts and Mariners games are scheduled on the same night. This made the trip to YTG’s “Home of the Strange” tour a journey in and of itself.

Quickly, the time spent sitting in traffic became worth it as Joywave began the first set of the night. The little electro-indie group has mostly popped up on alternative radio as a feature on other artists’ tracks, but with the release of their latest album, they’re gaining a bit more traction. Content, their sophomore full-length shows them experimenting with their sound more, and they proved to be a wonderful opening act for the night. “Tongues,” an older track, had the crowd happily bopping along to the synth-heavy sounds, while “Little Lies You’re Told,” showed a nice transition of their sound into something a little more focused on the vocals.

Up next were Cold War Kids, a group that feels like they’ve been around forever. These guys had a pretty long set compared to Joywave, and got mixed reviews. While there were certainly songs (like “Hang Me Up to Dry” or “First”) that had everyone singing along, the rest of the performance seemed to leave the crowd divided between die-hard fans and people constantly checking their watches and staring off into space.

Finally, alternative kings, Young the Giant. These guys also feel like a band that’s been around and releasing music forever, but their first album was actually released in 2011, with tracks like “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” that are still popular setlist staples.

Opening their performance with “Amerika,” the crowd was instantly put into a trance with their dreamy instrumentals and Sameer Gadhia’s silky smooth vocals. The night continued with a mix of newer, more alt-rock songs, and their older, softer indie tracks, creating a nice mix for fans of either end of the spectrum.

Toward the end of the night, YTG decided to switch things up a bit and play a few songs acoustically. The group has a series on YouTube called “In the Open” where they essentially play acoustic versions of their songs wherever they happen to be while on the road. The band explained that they wanted to bring that aspect to their live show too, and played a few songs for the crowd a little differently than they appear on the album. “Art Exhibit” sounded absolutely perfect in this way. Light and airy in its simplicity, it was great to hear the track half from the band, and half from the crowd shouting along.

With songs about everything from immigration to tripping on acid, tracks like “Cough Syrup” that’ll make you cry, and set closers like “My Body” that leaves your legs sore from jumping, YTG’s set brought together the best parts of each of their albums to create a wonderful performance. And this time was no different from their previous Seattle stops, blowing the crowd away not only with their own set, but also a nice selection of notable openers sure to have their own great headlining tours.

Review by Lulu Dawson
Photos by Sunny Martini

Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, and Joywave