Young The Giant at College Street Music Hall, 02.25.17
w/ Lewis Del Mar
I can't believe it took me so long to get to College Street Music Hall in New Haven, but I finally made it. The venue itself, formerly the Roger Sherman Theatre, was built in 1926 and operated from 1984 - 2002 under the name the Palace Theatre. It underwent renovations and re-opened in the spring of 2015 as College Street Music Hall. They did a great job, and the interior configuration is my favorite kind: plenty of different levels. It's perfect for GA seating because there are different "platforms" with railings (three on the left, five on the right), so if you're vertically challenged, there are plenty of spaces for you to be "up front". There is also upper reserved seating (loge, front balcony, and back balcony) if you'd prefer not to stand the entire show. There is a large bar behind the GA seating that offers really great craft beer, if you're into that (ahem, Sip Of Sunshine anyone?). Capacity is about 2,000 and because of its key partnership with Manic Presents (a Connecticut booking and promotional company), the venue has sort of stolen my idea of bringing solid artists to this state that exists perfectly between NYC and Boston. Honestly, my only complaint is that this venue exists about an hour away from centrally-located Hartford! Nonetheless, it definitely attracts a younger crowd due to the nearby colleges (Yale, Quinnipiac, and SCSU are all very close).
A long, long time ago (aka 2014), I sat on a hill during a downpour at Lollapalooza and listened to Young The Giant's set. Two years later, the band released its third studio album, Amerika . My earliest awareness of Young The Giant actually was in 2011 when they had their big single, "My Body"; their second single off of Young The Giant  - "Cough Syrup" - was also a big hit. I wouldn't say that their latest two albums have been quite as good as the first (you know my theory), but they are still entertaining to see live and even more importantly, sound pretty darn great! Not every alt/rock band has great live vocals to keep up.
The opener was Lewis Del Mar, an experimental rock duo from NYC - singer/songwriter Danny Miller and drummer/producer Max Harwood. They were pretty good actually, got the crowd hyped up, and drums were heavy. They reminded me of KONGOS or 21 Pilots, at times. Check out "Tap Water Drinking" - that one is my favorite.
Vocalist Sameer has the perfect alt-rock voice - it's smooth, yet edgy, and oozes with control and confidence. [And can we just add that he has some great hair? haha] Setlist ran through both new and old songs: "Jungle Youth", "Something To Believe In", "I Got", "Paralysis", "Titus Was Born", "Cough Syrup", "Firelight", "Repeat", "Mr. Know-It-All", "Mind Over Matter", "Art Exhibit", "Apartment", "Nothing's Over", and "Home of the Strange". Their encore included "Amerika", "Silvertongue", and then finally their big hit (which got everyone jumping) "My Body". Young The Giant is a solid blend of California rock with a tiny hint of Eastern influences, probably attributed to Sameer's family's background in Indian Classical music.
All in all, this show was a fun one! Definitely helped if you knew a few of their songs, but that's always the case. The band put on a high-energy, true alternative rock show. As always, I was obsessed with the lights at this venue. Just another reason for me to come back soon for another show...see ya there, musicsouls!