• Live Reviews

Young the Giant at The Riv on 2.23.12

written by: on February 25, 2012

Between the echoing vocals of Sameer Gadhia and an encore tribute to the windy city, Young the Giant delivered a successful show with a set list selected specifically for Chicago, saturated with new and varied songs during the band’s second week on tour.

“I Got” opened the Feb. 23 show, setting the tone for a relatively chill delivery coupled with spurts of high-energy crowd pogoing. The quintet was accompanied by floating illuminated boxes and strips of bright circus lights, creating an intimate ambiance, which complimented the dreamy mid-range vocals ringing throughout the venue. In another intimate-ambiance moment, a spotlight beamed down on Gadhia while he played an organ-like keyboard creating a nostalgic rhythm in “Camera.”

On the other end of the spectrum, “What You Get” began with the robust riffs of guitarists Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata, reverberating bass beats by Payam Doostzadeh and a gritty howl into the bullet-style microphone by Gadhia while he intermittently smacked the tambourine on François Comtois’ cymbals. For the duration of the show, each song possessed Gadhia’s body, and with each punch of music his limbs would jolt out to hit the tambourine.

Reminiscing about long summer days on the beach, “Strings” presented itself as another song to unwind to with a drink in hand, but  fans began crowd surfing and holding poster signs and cameras high. Gadhia was even surprised by the scene saying, “people must love crowd surfing here.” The crowd never tired; when asked to sing along during “Cough Syrup,” fans overpowered Gadhia’s voice on the bridge – with arms swaying. The band flowed directly into “Apartment,” and the crowd with arms still held high became shadows against the wall as white light was cast on the sold-out show.

Demanding one more song, the fans unsurprisingly received an encore. Surprisingly, Young the Giant responded with a tribute to Chicago playing a fist pumping R. Kelly “Ignition” cover, while donning fur coats. “We usually don’t do this, but we will go ahead and bring you a preview of the remix,” Gadhia said.

The energy culminated as the band pulled “My Body” out of its treasure chest of a set list to close. The walls felt like they were going to crumble to the ground as every member at The Riv jumped up and down while crowd surfers rolled across the ocean of hands.

More photos of Young the Giant at the Riviera by Andy Keil.

Young the Giant Setlist from 2.23.12 at The Riv

  1. “I Got”
  2. “Guns Out”
  3. “Shake My Hand”
  4. “12 Fingers”
  5. “What You Get”
  6. “Cough Syrup”
  7. “Apartment”
  8. “Strings”
  9. “Camera”
  10. “St. Walker”
  11. “God Made Man”


  1. “Remix to Ignition”
  2. “Islands”
  3. “My Body”