Indie powerhouses Young the Giant and The Apache Relay visited Stage AE on Friday, delivering vivacious performances of well-constructed set lists.
Hailing from Nashville, TN, The Apache Relay brought with them an eclectic mix of instruments, such as a violin and mandolin. They kicked the evening off with a very relaxed song that featured a gradual build-up. As they approached the climax of the tune, the audience positively reacted to the six-piece band, as though they were surprised to hear such refreshing music from an opener.
"American Nomad" really got the crowd moving with lead singer Michael Ford's velvety smooth vocals and the instrumentation's edgy folk appeal. "State Trooper" had a more mysterious vibe, the heavy bass giving the tune a haunting sound. With each song, the band loosened up more and more, appearing noticeably more relaxed with their surroundings.
When they played "Watering Hole," the band's soulful side crawled out from beneath their indie influences to give the crowd a sensual jam, which sounded like Maxwell's "Pretty Wings" mixed with a Ray LaMontagne vibe. It was during this song that The Apache Relay flexed their muscles as instrumentalists, showing they really know how to make a song progress in an ear-pleasing manner.
The Apache Relay, who performed at The Club at Stage AE a year ago, proved to be an excellent pairing for Young the Giant, due to their song structures and high energy.
In appropriate 4/20 fashion, Young the Giant entered the stage after red, green and yellow lights illuminated the room and reggae music began to blare from the speakers. Vocalist Sameer Gadhia stepped up to the mic, smiling ear to ear, and murmured, "Hey...happy 4/20. I hope you all had a special day." The crowd went wild as the band began to play, and Gadhia jumped around the stage like a toddler on Christmas morning.
"Guns Out" had a smooth, beach-esque energy, and established Young the Giant's monstrous sound. "Shake My Hand" featured grandiose guitar riffs and a lot of tambourine action from Gadhia. Most of Young the Giant's songs seemed to start off very relaxed and quiet and built up to an explosive climax, which helped to hold the audience's attention throughout the set.
The band's set list had an emphasis on new material, such as "What You Get," a simplistic tune with rough, in-your-face guitar parts. They also performed fan favorites like "Apartment" and "Cough Syrup," both of which garnered boisterous screams from the crowd. They dedicated "Camera" to hockey fans, as audience members had been screaming every time they caught word the Pittsburgh Penguins scored during the evening.
After a few more tunes, Young the Giant left the stage but returned to give an outstanding performance of R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)." Gadhia's falsetto sounded impeccable, and his sensual dance moves drove the crowd crazy. The band ended the show with their popular single "My Body," and Gadhia assured the crowd they would return to Stage AE someday very soon.
Young the Giant and The Apache Relay were a perfect match-up. Their distinct forms of indie music accented each other well and consistently gave a liveliness to the venue all night.