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Mace and Crown | May 20, 2018

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Young the Giant Make The National Their 'Home of the Strange'

Lindsey Lanham
Assistant A&E Editor

There’s a very specific feeling as you’re waiting in line for a concert. The anticipation, pre-concert nerves and an itching at your fingertips. The tension in the venue as the crowd waits for the show to start. Luckily for the hundreds of people waiting outside of The National, Young the Giant did not disappoint.

The stage was decorated with three flags portraying various shapes on either side. The backdrop was a mountain, much like the one on their album cover. Lead singer, Sameer Gadhia, held nothing back as he danced and sang to the crowd.

Currently on tour in support of their latest album, “Home of the Strange,” Young the Giant played to a sold-out crowd on Sunday night. Even opening band Lewis Del Mar couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces as the crowd cheered and danced along.

“Home of the Strange,” released in August 2016, is the band’s third studio album. The group has struggled to find their identity in previous works. Their self-titled debut was very much low-key, indie rock, while “Mind Over Matter” took on a more pop vibe. Young the Giant seemed to find homage on “Home of the Strange” and really refined their palette.

Wearing a white jumpsuit, sneakers and socks, Gadhia stole the show. All eyes were on him as he jumped around on staged and leaned down to touch the crowd. The band opened strong with “Jungle Youth” and “Something to Believe In,” two of the faster songs from the album which proved the perfect way to open the show.

“Cough Syrup” followed soon after, and was easily the best performance of the night. Hearing the first few chords sent the crowd into a near-frenzy. As Gadhia crooned, “If I could find a way to see this straight / I’d run away,” he waited for the crowd to sing back, “To some fortune that I / I should have found by now.”

After the powerhouse opening, Gadhia took a minute to introduce the song “Firelight.”

“It’s about the presence of light in your life,” Gadhia explained. “This song is dedicated to some of the people we’ve lost over the years.” The crowd held up lighters and phone flashlights when Gadhia asked, and it made the show feel inclusive. For a short time, it wasn’t a band and an audience, it was just a group of people enjoying music.

Young the Giant flew through the rest of their set. They played hits like “Mind Over Matter” and new track “Mr. Know-It-All.” New or old, the crowd knew them all.

“We played here in 2009 with Minus the Bear,” Gadhia said. “Back then we kind of got off with the one or two people who kind of knew what we were doing,” he laughed. “This song goes out to all you guys who have supported us at The National since the beginning.” The intro led into the song “Apartment,” a fan-favorite that didn’t disappoint.

Next was “Home of the Strange,” which tied in what the album is all about. It’s essentially a lesson in inclusiveness. Lead single “Amerika,” also reflects this.

“I feel like, for us, this song is the immigrant’s America. It’s a big portion of America and the narrative is there, but it’s not as prevalent,” Gadhia told Forbes last August. “So I think it’s an ode to a newer America.”

After exiting stage, it wasn’t a long wait before Young the Giant came back on for the encore. The first two tracks they played were “Amerika” and “Silvertongue.” They were both crowd pleasers but were no match for the closing song, “My Body.” The song is nothing short of incredible and had the crowd out of their seats, not even singing, but yelling along.

It was short-lived but well worth it. Some bands were just meant to be on stage. Young the Giant brought everything they had to Richmond.

Young the Giant will wrap up this leg of the “Home of the Strange” tour this month. Their next leg stops in Charlottesville on Sept. 19.