After playing its first proper concert in 16 months at Chicago’s mega-music festival Lollapalooza last week, Young the Giant was bummed for a moment after delivering its set.
“We had such a great time at Lollapalooza,” drummer Francois Comtois said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “The energy was incredible. It was kind of a letdown to leave the stage, but then we realized we have another festival just a week away. We can’t wait to get to Sandpoint.”
The alt-rock band, like many music fans, is looking forward to performing with nature as the backdrop Friday at the Festival at Sandpoint. “We’ll be on the water,” Comtois said. “They set up a boat for us. We’ve been cooped up in Los Angeles for a year and a half.
“We’re going to take advantage of the opportunity. We’re going to drive in from Spokane and arrive early so we’ll be on the water and the grounds all day seeing Northern Idaho, and we’ll cap it all off with a show.”
Young the Giant, which hit the top five of the Billboard Alternative Songs charts with the infectious “My Body” and the clever “Cough Syrup,” which scored MTV play, has a knack for writing anthemic tunes.
“For some reason, we sometimes struggle writing smaller-sounding songs,” Comtois said. “We are better at writing big songs. Who knows why?” Young the Giant is working on new music, but it’s not ready for public consumption.
“The writing process is coming along, but we still have a ways to go with it,” Comtois said. “We’ve been focusing more on getting our sea legs ready to play shows like the one we have in Sandpoint. We have plenty of songs to play.”
A healthy portion of Young the Giant’s set at Lollapalooza was from the band’s 2016 album, “Home of the Strange.” The band’s third album touches on the immigrant experience. Comtois is from Montreal, but his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 15.
Vocalist Sameer Gadhia is of Indian descent. Bassist Payam Doostzadeh is Persian. Guitarist Jacob Tilley is British and guitarist Eric Cannata is Italian and Jewish. “We’re all from very different backgrounds,” Comtois said.
“But we’ve all come together, and that’s what I always thought America was about. When we made ‘Home of the Strange,’ we felt like we had something important to say. The songs were written in 2014 and 2015. The songs were a reaction to touring and traveling around the country.
“It was inspired by the college towns and all of the inclusivity and diversity we experienced that makes this country so great. Things over recent years became strange in this country, but I’m feeling better about things. We’re hopeful.”
Comtois is optimistic about live entertainment after experiencing some of the acts at Lollapalooza. “We saw Megan Thee Stallion, who had great energy and a great production,” Comtois said. “We watched Limp Bizkit, which was a fun throwback for us. I went to see Journey, and they were fun, too. It was live music.
“It was fun watching it, and it was even better performing. People are starved for it. I’m excited about going from a big city, we had so much fun in Chicago, and performing in a beautiful place like Sandpoint. It looks like it shares some things with the Gorge, which is one of the most spectacular stage setups.
“When you play the Gorge, it looks like you’re performing in front of a painting. I love the Pacific Northwest.”
Comtois is particularly fond of the Gem State. “Idaho has a special place in my heart,” Comtois said. “The first time I ever saw the Milky Way in a proper fashionwas in the wilderness in Idaho.
“I had been living in cities my whole life. Idaho is a magical place. Who knows what will happen when we play Sandpoint?”