Indie Rock Takes Over the Forum with Young the Giant

By Matt “Rabit” Martinez, Red Hare Images

When you’re in a relationship, you share your life with your partner. Likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, and most importantly music tastes. Though my main musical interests lean towards hard rock and heavy metal, I can dabble in more soft rock and other genres. One that I have never really listened to all that much though is Indie Rock. My girlfriend Kendra however, is the bigger fan of indie rock of the two of us. So, when Young the Giant was coming to the LA Forum, I thought I would be a good boyfriend and treat her to a show she would love to see. Joining Young the Giant on this indie rock night was Fitz and the Tantrums, along with Coin.

Opening the night was Coin from Nashville, TN. Helmed by lead singer and synth player Chase Lawrence. Guitarist Joe Memmel plays his instrument with such flair and enthusiasm, it’s like he was lost in his own little world on the side of the stage. Keeping the beat steady was Ryan Winnen on drums., and filling in as the touring bassist and keeping the crowd grooving was Matt Martin. Playing through songs like “Cemetery,” “Crash my Car,” and “Growing Pains” Coin hides their lyrics in songs with high energy and upbeat tempos. Lawrence has such a joy to his voice that picks up your spirits and gets you dancing to the melody, you can sometimes not realize that the lyrics he is singing are not happy or jovial at all, but more melancholy and sad. Ending the night with “Talk to Much” and then “Fingers Crossed,” Coin got the party started and the audience rocking in their seats. Though indie rock is not my every day listening to music, Coin won me over with their stage presence and energy they brought to every song.

Full Coin gallery below:

The second band to the stage was LA hometown gang Fitz and the Tantrums. Fusing indie rock with neo soul, Fitz was ready to continue the party and get the crowd even more hyped up. Opening with “Get Right Back,” co-lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs came bursting onto stage with endless energy. Dancing across the whole stage and with each other at times, Fitzpatrick and Scaggs were going to entice the audience to dance with them by moving & dancing throughout the entire set. The renaissance man of the group had to be James King who handled saxophone, flute, keyboards, percussion, and guitar changing instruments throughout the set depending on what each song called for from him. Grooving at the back of the stage was keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna, bassist Joseph Karnes, and drummer John Wicks. With a set consisting of 18 songs, including such gems like “Out of my League,” “12345,” “Moneygrabber,” “Roll Up,” “Handclap,” “Fools Gold,” and ending the night with “The Walker” Fitz and the Tantrums were nothing short of a joy to watch.  Every member had a smile on their face and you could tell they were enjoying every second of being on stage playing for the crowd, who was sending their energy right back to the band.

Full Fitz and the Tantrums gallery below:

Finally, it was time for the band my girlfriend dragged me to the Forum to see. (I kid. I drove us there). Young the Giant was ready to take the stage. As lead singer Sameer Gadhia stood atop the stage setup, the crowd erupted in cheers. Starting their set off with “Oblivion” guitarist Eric Cannata started strumming the soft chords that let Gadhia’s voice harmonize with, while drummer Francois Comtois created a hypnotizing beat that transport us into the musical world of Young the Giant. Transitioning into their second song “Something to Believe in” YTG picked up the energy as the band really started to get into the music. Bassist Payam Doostzadeh could be seen hanging in the back with his long luscious black hair, which as he finger picked his bass he was being hit with his own personal fan making him look like Fabio. While second guitarist Jacob Tilley could be seen rocking out and really playing it up to the crowd. Before going into “Firelight” Gadhia gave a speech about sharing ourselves with each other and requesting that we illuminate the whole Forum with our cellphones, but only once the drums came in at the end. Making this song one of the most magical moments of the night.

As Young the Giant played through their seventeen-song headlining set with songs like “Amerika,” “Home of the Strange,” “Mind over Matter,” “Cough Syrup,” and “Call me Back” the crowd was on their feet swaying and dancing the whole time. As YTG came out for a four-song encore starting with “Superposition” Gadhia dawned a black cloak bedazzled with mirror pieces all over it, and almost imitating James Brown he sung with so much soul it was infectious. When they went into “Tightrope” this is the song that YTG officially won me over with. Doostzadeh has one of the funkiest bass lines of the entire night. The song has a blend of funk and disco that you can’t help but dance to. Officially ending the night with “My Body” the crowd was up and jumping the entire time. Even nearly drowning out Gadhia’s vocals as the whole stadium could be heard singing along.

Full Young the Giant gallery below:

Though indie rock is not my go to music, I couldn’t help but be won over by each band that night. My girlfriend shared her musical taste with me, and I have to say she has some pretty good taste when it comes to music. Coin opened the show and got the audience hyped for what the rest of the night was to bring. Fitz and the Tantrums created a dance room that was on the verge of jazzercizing with how energetic Fitzpatrick and Scaggs were. While Young the Giant brought the roof down and goes to show indie rock does have some superstars in the music industry.

I will say though, because I am so accustomed to rock and metal shows, the weirdest part of the night was not hearing Black Sabbath during the set change.

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