Live Review: Young the Giant plays a sold-out show at The Ritz Ybor on St. Paddy's Day

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click to enlarge Live Review: Young the Giant plays a sold-out show at The Ritz Ybor on St. Paddy's Day - Andrew Silverstein
Andrew Silverstein
Live Review: Young the Giant plays a sold-out show at The Ritz Ybor on St. Paddy's Day

Young the Giant hit up The Ritz Ybor this past Saturday for a sold-out St. Patrick's Day show seeped in kitschy revelry and all the trappings of impending stardom for the young fivesome.

In the past year, YTG has cruised the alt-rock FM waves straight to Billboard-ian territories with their crushing debut single "My Body," and sustained this modicum of success with their latest, "Cough Syrup," a mellowed-out ode to apathy seemingly culled from the Kings of Leon playbook.

If there's one band I'd put my money on to "break out" (i.e. plays on more than three different compact car commercials and/or an episode of The Colbert Report) this year, it's Young the Giant.

Saturday night, these guys more or less proved that they are well strapped for takeoff into the crazy fucking famous stratosphere, if it happens. Aesthetically, they've nailed it. Various elegantly disheveled hairstyles? Check. Enthused, exotic frontman? Check. Striking ever-so-subtle poses for the long camera lenses of mine and my comrades? Debatable.

Shit-giving aside, Young the Giant really are a damn good band in a live setting, and for numerous reasons.

Their energy proved instantly contagious the moment they took the stage. Even if it's a little contrived, there's something about a live band just physically putting it all into their songs that always gets to me. Play it, or just make it seem like you're playing it for one of the first times, ever, like you were looking forward to it all day, and it shows. YTG knows this and kept it up for the bulk of their 90-minute set on Saturday.

They rallied through the bulk of material from their self-titled release and a handful of new songs. Singer Sameer Gadhia is clearly the locus of attention, belting out songs like "Apartment," "I Got" and "Cough Syrup" with a smoky howl akin to Chris Martin's after years of chain smoking. He's an apt frontman, sauntering around the stage, raising a hand in the air more times than I cared to count, and comfortably basking in the attention.

The last third of their set fell into pretty lackluster territory as they moved through the motions of a droll new track, "I Wanna," and a handful of numbers from their debut. Maybe this was calculated so that their first encore, a faithful rendition of "Ignition" by R. Kelly, could achieve maximum impact. As amusing as it was, they held it down pretty well. Gadhia, laughing amidst the company of openers Grouplove, missed his cue on the second verse, but whatever. By the time they closed with "My Body," they'd made a solid case for their spot camped out at the proverbial front gates of rock stardom. Here's to having enough force to break them down.

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