If music had physical traits, the music of Young the Giant would be best described as handsome: clear-complexion, a full head of hair and a clean smile.
On Wednesday night, the quintet from Irvine, Calif., headlined a show at the Midland theater and gave a large crowd 90 minutes of songs notable for their attractive melodies and engaging grooves.
The band is touring on “Mind Over Matter,” its second full-length, released in January, more than three years after its self-titled debut. They opened with the first three tracks off “Matter,” including the locomotive “It’s About Time,” which was about as heavy as they got all night.
Their sound arouses light and heavy resemblances to a few bands, including Coldplay (on “Guns Out”) and Vampire Weekend (on “Anagram” and “Eros”). Comparisons to Radiohead feel like a stretch, but you can infer some similarities if you look for them.
Lead singer Sameer Gadhia has a dynamic, distinctive voice, one that filled the spacious theater with ease. He can glide into a falsetto with ease, much like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, as he did on “Guns Out.” He keeps the energy on stage percolating, whether engaging in some dance moves, banging a tambourine or strumming a guitar. The light show also generated some visual energy.
The crowd, which filled the floor, gave each song a big ovation, but there were only a few outbursts of dancing and singing. The jaunty groove of “Teachers” incited some dancing. “Firelight” and “Guns” got big cheers of recognition. But there were lulls here and there, the result of too many midtempos back-to-back.
They saved the best for last. The irrepressibly catchy “Cough Syrup,” followed by “Crystallized” and its jittery groove brought the first set to an energetic close. They followed that with an encore that comprised three of its most popular songs (according to Spotify): “Apartment,” “Mind Over Matter” and “My Body,” a galloping anthem with a boisterous chorus that the crowd threw itself into, vocally and with arms raised and fists pumping.
It was the perfect closer and one of the few moments of the night where it felt like the crowd was viscerally engaged and not just admiring so many attractive songs.