TVD Live Shots:
Young the Giant and
Fitz and the Tantrums
at the Forum, 8/10

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Feel good pop music continues to appeal to the masses. The Forum, an imposing piece of architecture in the heart of Inglewood, is a legendary Los Angeles venue built in 1967 to resemble a Roman Coliseum by the same firm that built Madison Square Garden. The Forum is a prestigious venue to play. But last Saturday, at a venue that has seen everyone from The Eagles to Diana Ross, modern indie pop music prevailed.

Not entirely sold out but close to capacity, the crowd was a mixture of families, fashionistas, and low-key people sporting Vans and Hawaiian shirts; hints to a more laid back Southern California lifestyle. The young children in attendance signaled a night of youthful and joyous, spirited music that only concerned parents would permit their children listen to. I was singing “Shout at the Devil” by Mӧtley Crüe at 6-years-old but hey…we all have different experiences and tastes in life, and that’s just what this show represented.

The night seemed a little motley too. The Nashville trio COIN, who define their music as pop songs with rock instrumentation in an interview with Billboard magazine opened the show and played their most popular hit to date “Talk Too Much.”

Fitz and the Tantrums took the stage bringing the kids to their feet as they danced to the band they no doubt came to see. But it wasn’t just the children who loved this 18-song set, the entirety of the arena sang along as Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, the vocal duo of the group, powered through the high-energy Motownesque dance songs they are known for.

The mood of the venue took on much darker and more mature tone as the lights were lowered and Young the Giant took the stage. The majority of their set focused on their last two albums, Mirror Master and Home of the Strange, which have taken on a decidedly more commercial direction as opposed to their self-titled breakout album, which is probably why they were paired with Fitz and The Tantrums as coheadliners on this tour. But I’m unsure if the two acts belonged together. It felt like being at two different shows.

As a band known for experimenting across genres, Young the Giant are a highly organized mixture of darker indie tones infused with bursts of pop commanded by lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s baritone. His presence dominates and brings forth a welcomed theatricality. Did he come out in a royal blue shattered glass cape in the second half of the set? Yes… Was it lame? No.

“Amerika” off of the Home of the Strange album was the most compelling song of the night for me, the audience embracing the encore’s “My Body.” Every song in this set was unique and not one disappointed, even if they steered away from their harder rock songs.

Dissecting life in “Amerika,” their lyric says, “It’s a rich kid game didn’t grow up with the throne.” I’d agree and disagree. Music is our emotions, thoughts, and desires stripped down, and maybe they didn’t start off with the throne in life, but within their music, I’ll give them a crown.



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