Alt-rock quintet Young the Giant has only been releasing albums since 2010 (they’ve been together since 2004), but the quintet has already amassed enough material to warrant a verifiable greatest hits setlist, as shown during the band’s sold-out show at the Knitting Factory on Friday.
The band paid special attention to its latest album “Mirror Master,” filling just under half the show with songs from the record, which was released in October, but the quintet – guitarist/singer Eric Cannata, drummer/singer Francois Comtois, bassist Payam Doostzadeh, singer Sameer Gadhia and guitarist Jacob Tilley – didn’t forget about the tunes that paved the way.
The concert, the second-to-last show of this leg of the “Mirror Master” tour, kicked off with “Oblivion,” from “Mirror Master.”
With a quick “Spokane, how you doing tonight?” from Gadhia, the band launched into “Something to Believe In,” from 2016’s “Home of the Strange,” before returning to its latest album with a performance of “Heat of the Summer.”
After flashing back to 2010’s “Young the Giant” for a performance of “Apartment” followed by “Titus Was Born,” from “Home of the Strange,” which featured lovely vocals from Cannata, the band bounced back to “Mirror Master” with “Brother’s Keeper.”
About halfway through the main portion of the show, Gadhia told the audience about the “In the Open” series the band created in its early years together in which the quintet performs stripped down versions of its songs outside in open spaces.
“I’m on a stage as tall as you guys, and there are lights, but a song should be able to be played on acoustic guitar anytime, anywhere,” Gadhia said. “What started as something for fun has become a big part of who we are. We’re going to play a Russian doll set, a set within a set.”
The band then played toned down, though no less engaging versions of “Islands,” from its self-titled debut album, and “Firelight,” from 2014’s “Mind Over Matter.”
Before “Firelight,” Gadhia explained the song to the audience, saying it was about the “(expletive) that exists in our headspace, maybe not our physical space.” He ended with an appeal to the audience.
“When the drums come in, I’m going to point at you and I want you to put up a light with your cell phone. Share that part of yourself that you want to share more with people.”
The audience was happy to fulfill his request.
From there, it was back to the regularly scheduled program with “Amerika,” the opening notes of which were enough to set the audience cheering.
Comtois’s backing vocals really shined through on this tune, from “Home of the Strange.”
A one-two punch of fan favorites “Cough Syrup” and “Mind Over Matter” was followed by a one-two punch from “Mirror Master,” “Nothing’s Over,” featuring solid guitar work from Tilley and coordinated dance moves from the band, and “Call Me Back.”
The band kicked off its four-song encore with “Superposition” and “Tightrope,” both from “Mirror Master,” before leaving audience members with a bit of nostalgia, playing “Silvertongue,” from “Home of the Strange,” and, from the band’s debut album, “My Body,” the chorus of which the audience sang so loud they drowned out Gadhia.
Even still, the song, and, really, the night, belonged to Gadhia.
The most charismatic frontman I’ve seen in a long time, Gadhia danced to his heart’s content while showcasing fantastic live vocals, especially on “Apartment” and “Firelight.”
Whether with full effects or “In the Open,” Young the Giant commanded the audience’s attention from the moment they walked onstage to their final waves to the crowd.
The band has the talent, and the discography, to back up the adoration, and while leaving the stage, the quintet seemed to be as taken with the crowd as the audience was of them.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see another sold-out Spokane show in the band’s future.
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