Young the Giant with Cold War Kids

The Home of the Strange Tour came to central Alabama on Tuesday, September 26 at The BJCC Concert Hall. When the tour was announced, it felt like an instant sell out. Young the Giant has been well established in the alternative pop rock scene for a good time now thanks to the single “My Body” and Cold War Kids made waves a decade ago with their hit “Hang Me Up To Dry”. However, when you think of an alternative music scene, Birmingham, Alabama wouldn’t ever come to mind, and Tuesday’s concert proved just that. 

For the record, Joywave opened the tour but thanks to a mixup with the door/show times I missed their set, along with 90% of the other patrons that night. From a friend, their set started off with tuning issues from where the vocalist said on aloud onstage “We gotta fix this, it’s too quiet in here and they’ll notice” — They may have had a desolate audience but from what I heard, their set was phenomenal and full of action. 

Up next was Cold War Kids, which I DID see and quite frankly, was left with more to desire. It’s so clear to me that all musicians draw their energy from the crowd and with empty seats littering the theatre, there was no energy to draw from. Lead vocalist Nathan Willet kept with the same commentary all evening, “This is the quietest show we have ever played.” This tour has five shows left and I can imagine the tour-exhaustion is real, so playing a show to a less than full auditorium has to be mentally draining. The stage production was lackluster with almost an entire set of dim blue or purple lights and a simple backdrop of the band’s latest album release LA Divine. While the music itself was spot on, Nathan’s raspy vocals just radiated off the auditorium’s walls in the most beautiful way, I didn’t get the same rush of adrenaline I usually do when a band takes the stage. Don’t get me wrong, Cold War Kids killed their set, it was full of hits such as “Something to Believe In” and “Love Is Mystical” along with a goosebump inducing cover of “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. I’m really looking forward to catching them on a sold out night at a headlining event. 

After CWK, I was really leaning to Young the Giant to raise the energy of the audience or vice versa. The crowd filled in more for the headliner (I still blame the door/show time mix up) but I was ready for an exciting burst of a set and let me tell you, that’s exactly what I got. Opening with ‘Amerika’ off their tour-titled album Home of the Strange, Sameer Gadhia came out swinging. Or rather, dancing. The stage production was on another level. A giant video monitor behind the stage along with theatrical light set up combined with Sameer’s energy turned my entire night around. I found myself smiling at the excitement. As it turned into song two, “Something to Believe In” one of their latest and more famous singles, the audience went wild. If you weren’t dancing or singing along at this point, you didn’t have a pulse. If you’ve never seen this band live, you need to. Every single member of the band just gets SO into the songs and Sameer moves and sings like his life depends on that very thing. It’s truly something to believe in. — See what I did there? 

See the full setlist below! 

All photos ©Ashley Lester Photography

    Young The Giant: 

    1. Amerika
    2. Something to Believe In
    3. I Got
    4. Anagram
    5. Titus Was Born
    6. Mr. Know-It-All
    7. It’s About Time
    8. Cough Syrup
    9. Strings (acoustic)
    10. Firelight (acoustic)
    11. Nothing’s Over
    12. Mind Over Matter
    13. Repeat
    14. Apartment
    15. Home of the Strange
    16. Jungle Youth
    17. Silvertongue
    18. My Body

    Cold War Kids

    1. All This Could Be Yours
    2. Miracle Mile
    3. Hang Me Up To Dry
    4. Can We Hang On?
    5. Love is Mystical
    6. Restiless
    7. Mexican Dogs
    8. Love on the Brain (Rihanna Cover) 
    9. Lost That Easy
    10. Part of the Night
    11. So Tied Up
    12. First 
    13. Something Is Not Right With Me