For Young the Giant, the American Dream is more unconventional—the band ditched the white picket fence for amps and guitars. And the six-piece outfit’s August 18 show at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort illustrated its personal rock-star journey as U.S. immigrants.
A mashup of American songs such as Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” played before the band took the stage. As an animated sunrise illuminated the room, Young the Giant kicked off the show with “Amerika”—the title track on latest release Home of the Strange. The lyrics tackle a continuous and often sickening drive for success: “Always talking about one day in America / same old story, oh / you want glory, son.”
In the crowded theater, it seems as though the band accomplished the American Dream. Midway through the set, lead singer Sameer Gadhia scanned the room full of raised hands. “We would’ve never believed we would be here,” he said, recalling the “shitty little showcase off the Strip” they played in the past.
The Vegas audience of young and old danced along to fan favorites such as “Cough Syrup” and the latest reprised release of “Mirrorball” archived from the band’s second album Mind Over Matter. The more intimate moments of the night came when they played stripped down versions of songs that replicate their In The Open sessions on YouTube, in which the band plays unplugged in scenic locations. During “Firelight,” Gadhia asked the audience to hold up their phone flashlights to remind them of the things that will still be here after they’re gone. The room transformed to a swaying starry night.
By the end of the evening, Gadhia appeared dressed in true Vegas fashion wearing a silver, sparkly jacket over a red jumpsuit for “Silver Tongue,” and dominated the stage with Elvis Presley’s infamous pelvis moves. The band closed with hit single “My Body” from their debut album, and the night ended with a message in mind: America may not be the benefactor of pure opportunity, but it is a home of growth, variety and many comprehensive stories, however strange those stories may be.
Photos by David Becker