From the shaved ice stands to the kids who had waited eight hours to get barricade, everyone was excited for the concert to start. An up-and-coming band, that blossomed out of Provo, as the opener and an alternative staple who hadn’t visited Salt Lake City in three years made for a buzz worthy lineup leading up to the night.
“What is up, Salt Lake! Excited to play in our hometown again. We are The Aces,” screamed Cristal Ramirez, the band’s lead singer, into her microphone. The crowd roared back. The bass wailed into their first song and the concert began.
The Aces pulled their setlist from a combination of their latest album and their old EP. “Physical,” a catchy, contradictory ballad, had the pit headbanging and during the chorus of “Volcanic Love” the crowd echoed back the ode to a destructive romance. The band asked the audience if they could play an unreleased song and, from the sound of the crowd, it was acceptable to do so. After getting the audience to jump for the entirety of their popular single “Stuck,” The Aces gave a heartfelt thank you and left everyone humming with anticipation for the next band.
Young the Giant came out to a frenzy of excited screams. Fans at the barricade, previously exhausted from waiting for hours in the sun with minimal water, now had their second wind. Starting with “Something to Believe In,” the tone was set for the rest of the show to be a party. The sun was beginning to set when frontman Sameer Gadhia launched into “Apartment.” The whole crowd was belting along passionately, a confirmation that each person had a connection to the song; whether that be from a lover, a road trip or the night they moved into their first apartment. For me, it was one of the first songs that got me into alt music, I would listen to it on my iPod Nano on the bus ride home from school. But here we all were, past experiences converging into this moment of unity.
That feeling persisted throughout the night. The men on stage weren’t trying to be moody, “on brand” or enigmatic. They were at SLC Twilight to play some music that people love. Salt Lake has a reputation for having some of the loudest, rowdiest crowds and they definitely showed up. The whole band couldn’t stop smiling.
Young the Giant soared through an incredible setlist. From “Nothing’s Over” to “Crystalized,” they delivered a remarkable performance. The crowd went downright crazy when the first, quiet guitar runs of “Cough Syrup” started, and the entire amphitheater screamed the song to the rest of the city. Leading up to “Firelight,”Gadhia asked fans to turn on their phone lights when the drums started. The song had meaning for everyone in that crowd, and that night, we were able to share in that meaning. When the drums came in, the outdoor venue was bathed in a glow of light.
The band finished, but the crowd wouldn’t settle and requested they came out and played “one more song!” Gadhia reintroduced himself to the crowd in a sequined jacket and Young the Giant played not one, but five more songs. Those songs were one dance party after the other. The group reached an end with “My Body,” a classic from their self-titled.
“But I won’t quit, ‘cause I want more,” yelled the crowd . The guitarists, Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata, discussed something over the music, laughed, and Tilley then descended into the pit and continued playing while being held up by fans. Tilley climbed back onto stage and hit the final riff to “My Body,” wrapping up another energetic night at the SLC Twilight Series.
Find out more about the Salt Lake City Twilight Concert Series and buy tickets for remaining shows at http://twilightconcerts.com.