Local bands are used to playing at divey bars filled with familiar faces. After years of practicing in the garage, the idea of playing in a small bar down the road from where you grew up, is nothing but accomplishment. But like everything, ideas grow and accomplishments become bigger and better.
Young the Giant, a local band from Irvine has become that big, evolving idea. Starting as The Jakes, a group of friends from Irvine High School interested in creating music in the garage, have changed their name, dropped and picked up new members and are now one of the new up-and–coming bands from Orange County. Just like No Doubt, Social Distortion and Sublime, these guys have become a phenomenon among the local music scene, only hoping to make a name for themselves. Young the Giant achieved a moment in their career that will inevitably stick at their July 22 show at the Pacific Amphitheatre during the OC Fair.
Scenesters and hipsters alike are all aware of their newborn success, and to be honest, after seeing them myself, I have found a place for them in my own musical heart. A jam band of sorts, frontman Sameer Gadhia had electric energy with his vocals, as well as brilliant stage presence. His whiplash dancing style and falsetto screams brought the crowd to an immediate dance frenzy. After weeks on tour and arriving in from Firefly Music Festival in Delaware that afternoon, YTG needed an adrenaline-based crowd to keep band members from falling over from exhaustion. Synchronized crowd waves started from left to right and back again, and this was happening even before the band set foot on stage. The crowd seemed as if it were at a sporting event, cheering when the wide receiver scored the winning touchdown, exemplifying that Young the Giant was absolutely among its loved ones.
Guitarist Jacob Tilley, bassist Payam Doostzadeh and vocalist and guitarist Eric Cannata, were all smiles while grooving next to Gadhia. Drummer Francois Comtois, kept the head banging and rhythmic dance moves alive with his driving beats. YTG’s homecoming turned into an hour and a half dance party for all who attended, even peering up to the top of the lawn I could see people dancing to the unique sounds. During the encore, the band asked for the audience to smile for a picture memento, which was uploaded via Instagram.
Fullerton band The Steelwells opened for YTG with harmonic tones and good cheer. The five folksy locals, Joey Winter, Andrew Eapen, Jonathan Bradley, Billy Kim, and Robbie Gullage, are lyrically inspired by the great big open sea. Their little boy imaginations flow through their songs with nautical proportions. Grateful and excited, it was obvious The Steelwells were blown out of their seafaring minds with the size of the venue and crowd.
Both these bands have a dream and passion, and within that, a home filled with supporters. That’s all you can hope for.