If given only one word to describe Wednesday night (July 10)’s show at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, I’d probably use this one: good. The concert featuring Young the Giant, Fitz & the Tantrums and Coin was good.
Next at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
Who: ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ in concert
When: 8 p.m. May 25
Where: Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers
Cost: Starting at $22 plus fees
Tickets: 479-443-5600 or visit arkansasmusicpavilion.com for information.
It was not exceptional. There were no “wow” moments from the stage via a burst of particular instrumental prowess. There wasn’t a particular aesthetic element that blew me away. The crowd sang the big songs back to the bands responsible for them, but the venue was about 2/3 capacity. It got boisterous, particularly during Young the Giant’s closer, “My Body,” but didn’t quite risk blowing the tent off the AMP. The big “moment” of the night was the tribute to Young the Giant lead singer Sameer Gadhia. He turned 30 on the night of the concert, and the band stopped midway through the set to implore the crowd to sing him “Happy Birthday” and rewarded him with a pie to the face. He wiped himself down and charged right into the next song.
It was a good night weather wise, too. The last time Fitz & the Tantums played at the AMP, as a supporting act for Foster the People in the fall of 2014, a storm forced the evacuation of the venue and also forced truncated sets by the bands. There was a fear of rain for Wednesday’s event, too – but it passed well before the show. Compared to recent levels of heat and humidity, it was downright pleasant.
Saying the show was merely “good” feels like a bit of a backhanded compliment as I type it out, and I suppose there’s some truth there. If you require something “extra” from a concert, Wednesday night’s three-band bill wasn’t that package. But for a night starring a band on the harder edges of pop music, it was a perfectly nice event. I suspect that big-time fans of each band heard the songs they wanted, and all three had dedicated fan bases present.
Young the Giant got 90 minutes of the evening, and both their set and the evening moved by briskly. Kudos to the crew who moved quickly to set things up between bands – there was refreshingly little downtown between acts.
The band that would become Young the Giant formed in 2004, making Gahdia’s birthday all the more remarkable – he was still in high school when this group started. The band had their first hit, “My Body,” in 2011 and have continued to find success to a level that keeps them just shy of worldwide fame. They aren’t exactly a household name, but close. I suspect that even if you didn’t recognize their name, you’d recognize songs like “Cough Syrup,” which seems to show up everywhere.
Fitz & the Tantrums occupies a similar space, even if their blend of rock music veers in the direction of funk and glam. It’s hard to pass them off as just an opening act considering they played 18 songs in 75 minutes of stage time. Fitz & the Tantrums have released several songs that you might now, or probably should know if you don’t. “The Walker,” the song they closed the night with, is very, very catchy. They faithfully played through a list of their biggest hits and dropped a few new ones as well. The newest songs are set for a release this fall on an album called “All the Feels.” They played the cover track on Wednesday, and I must say it’s a bit campy, but I also kinda liked it. Fitz & the Tantrums played enough new material to allow the fans to get an idea of what’s coming in the fall, and I suspect it will be good, too.
Nashville-based openers Coin surprised me in that I didn’t know they had so many fans. Not that they shouldn’t. But there was a very real contingent who showed up early, already wearing the band’s merch and ready to sing each song. They are a bigger band than I knew. And they fit the bill nicely as an energetic warmup to the events coming behind them.
Wednesday night wasn’t great. It wasn’t mind blowing or life affirming. It most certainly wasn’t bad or disappointing, however. Three modern rock bands with nice songs played music for almost four hours without much interruption. That’s good enough for me.