The Fillmore is one of Philadelphia’s newest concert venues and it is arguably one of the nicest. The four chandeliers that hang above the dance floor turn the venue into a ballroom, the pseudo-VIP section gives fans a feeling of importance and the venue has close to a dozen bars. Tons of talent come in and out of this new venue, some of the most recent being Ra Ra Riot and Young the Giant Sept. 16. With the recent release of new albums by both artists, this was a perfect chance for fans to hear new favorite songs live.
Ra Ra Riot’s fourth and newest album “Need Your Light” made up the majority of their twelve12-song setlist. The indie band played with tons of energy, capturing the audience perfectly before Young The Giant’s set. Wes Miles, the band’s frontman, has a perfect voice for live performances; its delicate combination of soft and passionate timbres was a spectacle. The band did what many artists do, saving their best songs for last. “Water” and “Absolutely” paired together perfectly before the band closed with “I Need Your Light.”
Young the Giant took the stage and was pretty unconventional in choosing a setlist. Being that the band just released their third album, “Home of the Strange,” one would expect them to kick off the show with the lead song from that album. “Amerika,” the band’s lead single from the album wasn’t even played until the encore. Heck, during the show frontman Sameer Gadhia even admitted that encores sometimes feel obligatory. It begs the question, “Why plan for an encore if it feels more like a burden than a gift?” Give the fans everything they want during the show so that they don’t have to beg for “one more song” in hopes to hear the song that kicks off your new album.
Ultimately, I like the new Young the Giant album. It’s nothing spectacular compared to the band’s first album, but it’s an enjoyable listen with a new style. My main issue with the album is it feels unorganized. “Amerika” does not sound like a song that should kick off an album, the tracklist feels like the songs all exist on separate albums and the album is significantly shorter than any album the band has released before. I think the live show properly reflected the album, being that the setlist seemed to be in a random order. From the beginning the crowd never felt completely into the band. The most excited the crowd got was during the “obligatory” encore when the band played “My Body,” the band’s stellar 2011 hit. It was easily the best moment of the entire night.
My favorite song “Titus Was Born” was one of the only two songs off the new album that was omitted from the live show, but that’s understandable considering the song is one of the most mellow, aside from their popular song “Cough Syrup,” which admittedly was a perfect song to play in the middle of the show. One thing the band did a fantastic job with was the backdrop for their show. I was not a fan of the lighting choices the band showed off (dark colors, mostly) but the backdrop was an ambient, dynamic art piece that changed frequently between a starry sky, a blank canvas and the mountains featured in the album’s cover art.
Overall, Young the Giant did play a good show for anyone who is passionate about the new album. The older songs were mostly ignored, and the new songs were played in a random order that didn’t seem to motivate or energize the crowd. Young the Giant was good, not great, but definitely worth seeing if you didn’t mind buying a ticket to a sold out show to hear two songs you were passionate about 5 years ago.