Kongos, Young the Giant, Kings of Leon concert leaves crowd in flurry of emotions

By Shruthika Pochampally
staff writer

DALLAS – When I first saw Young the Giant live in February at Southside Ballroom in Dallas, I was truly mesmerized by the lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s tremendous vocals and the band’s captivating stage presence.

Young the Giant captivates fans throughout its opening set. Photo by Shruthika Pochampally.

So when I found myself free and with a slightly lighter workload than the past few weekends, I spontaneously made the decision to go to the Kings of Leon concert, for which Kongos and Young the Giant were opening. I proceeded to buy my ticket a mere three hours before the concert itself, which was Friday at Gexa Energy Pavilion.

Kongos and Young the Giant are both bands I have seen previously (Kongos at Edgefest 24, Toyota Stadium in Frisco). Kings of Leon, on the other hand, is a band I am not very familiar with. When I arrived, completely misdressed for the suddenly dropped temperatures, I was apprehensive. I spent $40 just for one of the opening acts, without knowing the main act at all. In the half hour between finding a spot on the lawn and the beginning of Kongo’s set, I was filled with regret.

Within half an hour of chatting with friends and getting food to help suppress goosebumps, Kongos took the stage. At first, it was hard to get into the music, because of the chilly weather, and because it was still light outside, which to me meant that people could see you dance. But Kongos changed the entire mood of the few thousand at Gexa within its first song. By the end of the set, everyone in the reserved seating area were on their feet, as were many people in the lawn.

Towards the end, Kongos played its most popular song “Come With Me Now”, which was what really got the crowd energized and ready for the next few hours. Of course, the Kongos brothers’ swoon-worthy South African accents helped as well.

Next was the moment I had been waiting for. Young the Giant is one of my favorite bands of all time, mostly because of its stage presence. Explaining why Young the Giant is so great live is difficult to do; it’s one of those “you had to be there to get it” moments. The band has an unexplainable grace, despite Gadhia’s constant and frantic movement. He serenades the crowd with nothing but his infamous tambourine and alluring dance moves.

Between Gadhia and the rest of the band, the crowd was on it’s feet within the first minute of its set. It always feels like this band knows exactly which songs its crowd wants to hear, because it plays exactly that.

Young the Giant played one of the hits off Young the Giant, “Cough Syrup”, amongst others and many of its songs off of Mind Over Matter, its latest album. I vividly remember, more than anything from this night, when Sameer changed up the vocals on one of the songs, surprising the crowd, yet again, with his vocal talent. The set seemed far too short and as the band played their final song I felt a sense of content, appreciation and twinge of sadness. It is bands and concerts like Young the Giant that make me appreciate small pleasures like live music in life.

Finally, Kings of Leon entered the stage, and changed the entire mood of the crowd. The electric energy left by Young the Giant on the stage quickly turned into waves of nostalgia as the groups of friends in their late 20s began swaying to “Use Somebody”, and couples everywhere seemed taken back to their teenage years through the music.

Though I wasn’t aware of most of Kings of Leon’s music going into this concert, I left with admiration towards the large number of adults who fell in love with the band over 10 years ago and still continue to keep up with its music. It takes talent for your fans to stick with you, and Kings of Leon is a testament to this statement. It formed in 1999, and is older compared to fellow tour friends Kongos and Young the Giant, which formed in 2007 and 2004, respectively.

By the end of the night, I was overcome with a large variety of emotions to say the least. Kongos was on-point and provided an enjoyable feel before making way for the next two bands of the night. Young the Giant stole my heart as it always does, and I developed a newfound respect for Kings of Leon and its impact on multiple generations.