Indie pop-rockers Young the Giant and Fitz and the Tantrums brought their coheadlining summer tour to Bayfront Park Amphitheater Saturday night. But despite the dual headlining sets, the evening amounted to nothing more than a showcase of mediocrity.
From the beginning of their set, the members of Fitz and the Tantrums seemed to give it their all. The six-piece dialed up the energy during its time onstage and won over much of the crowd, which was clearly waiting for Young the Giant’s headlining set. But although the Los Angeles group has a relatively unique brand of soul-tinged pop music that’s well-suited for TV commercials, it doesn’t hold up as well throughout the course of a full show.
Frontman Michael Fitzpatrick’s lyrics are rooted deeply in clichés, leading to cringe-inducing moments such as the chorus of the recent single “123456,” in which, yes, he counts to six a few too many times. Though the lyrics were inelegant and the sugary choruses wore thin after the first handful of songs, the band had a few instantly recognizable semihits that kept the crowd engaged. Throughout the set, the group deployed familiar songs such as “The Walker” and “Out Of My League,” taking advantage of the recognition that comes with its music being used in countless advertisements.
Young the Giant followed in the headlining slot, and from the moment the California band took the stage, singer Sameer Gadhia tried his hardest to please. Something about his hyperactive stage presence just feels fabricated and lacking spontaneity, from his jittery dance moves to the bejeweled cape he wore during the set’s encore. The frontman seems to be doing his best to ensure his band’s show is compelling, but no amount of manufactured charisma can make up for a set that’s marginally interesting at best.
Any hope for a truly great show was lost during the opener, “Oblivion,” the first of a handful of duds from the band’s most recent album, Mirror Master. Though Saturday night’s headlining set at Bayfront Park was a marked improvement over the band’s mess of a performance at last year’s Riptide Music Festival, many of Young the Giant’s recent issues still plague the group. The pacing was off throughout the show, and the set at times felt like a slog through dull stints while waiting for an arresting moment.
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Still, the band's set saw flashes of excellence, such as standouts “Nothing’s Over” and “Mind Over Matter.” But the show never even came close to approaching transcendence. The band’s most recent hit, “Superposition,” received a huge response from the crowd as the first song of the encore, though it still strikes dreadfully hollow.
“Heat of the Summer” was an appropriate song for a hot summer night in Miami, and the crowd that showed up to the outdoor amphitheater didn’t seem to mind the muggy weather. A few empty rows lined the back of the venue's seated area, and the lawn offered plenty of breathing room, but neither the fans nor the artists seemed to care.
Though at a glance it might seem like an odd pairing, Fitz and the Tantrums and Young the Giant make sense as tour mates. Both bands delivered almost exactly what their respective fans would expect. But a great live show should always leave audiences wanting more. By the time Young the Giant's set wrapped up Saturday night, this writer had more than enough.