On an overcast evening late in summer, music enthusiasts in Berkeley were treated to a spectacular show at the iconic Greek Theatre. Young the Giant joined forces with the German sensation Milky Chance and opener Rosa Linn. The result was a captivating performance that exhilarated the audience and proved once again the power of live music.
Hailing from suburban Irvine, California, Young the Giant has been making waves in the rock music scene with their charismatic presence and soulful music and lyrics. Known for their infectious energy and emotionally charged performances, the band effortlessly blends indie rock vibes with anthemic pop elements. With Sameer Gadhia’s dynamic vocals leading the way, the band weaves together the intimate and the expansive into a moving whole.
Milky Chance, on the other hand, brings a unique fusion of folk, reggae, and electronic elements to their music. Hailing from Kassel, Germany, this dynamic duo has captured the hearts of listeners around the world with their genre-bending sound and laid-back charisma. Clemens Rehbein’s smooth vocals and Philipp Dausch’s skilled instrumentation come together to create a musical journey that’s both soothing and invigorating.
Both acts have a surprising connection. After the show, guitarist Eric Cannata explained Young the Giant’s origin – a high school band that eventually made it big. This is also the story of Milky Chance – two school friends in Germany that started to collaborate and never stopped.
As the night unfolded at the Greek Berkeley, the groups took the stage one by one, each igniting the crowd with their individual magic.
Milky Chance played the support role, infusing the atmosphere with their signature blend of folk-infused beats and electronic twists. Songs like “Stolen Dance” and “Cocoon” had the crowd swaying and dancing to the irresistible rhythms, proving that language barriers are no obstacle when it comes to music’s universal language. The band’s ability to seamlessly transition from introspective moments to high-energy dance beats demonstrated their prowess as performers who know how to read and engage their audience. The set culminated with a thrilling harmonica solo. The band brought tons of energy, cementing existing fans and creating news ones.
Young the Giant followed with an electrifying set that showcased their ability to blend anthemic rock with introspective ballads. The crowd sang along with popular hit singles like “Cough Syrup” and “My Body”, and enjoyed newer tracks that feature wide-ranging sonic influences from tabla (Indian classical percussion), to funk, to the aggressive intensity of Nine Inch Nails. The band commanded the stage with a presence that held the audience captive.
Young the Giant set the tone with an existential video that continued later in their set. Not unlike “Cough Syrup”, which discusses wanting to break free and not knowing what to do with yourself, the video explores a place some people arrive at after — more zen, wondering about the American Dream, material things, and a general sense of dissatisfaction so many people seem to walk around with in life. Further exploring the personal, Sameer later talked about how one song is about generational trauma. He’s a father himself, presumably doing work on himself to try to be a better human, as well as a son trying to understand his own father and what he went through.
The band beautifully alternated between personal and group emotions of melancholy on the one hand, and energetic joyfulness on the other, weaving together a memorable show that was real, authentic, and cathartic.
The 7,800 fans at the Greek Berkeley were left buzzing with excitement as the night drew to a close. The energy Young the Giant and Milky Chance brought created an unforgettable evening, transcending borders and bringing people together through the power of music. It was a reminder of the power of live music. Its magical ability to to bridge gaps, create connections, and leave a lasting impact on everyone lucky enough to be part of the experience.
In the end, the show was more than just a concert – it was a moment to reflect on ourselves, our feelings, our lives — to have fun, to be with others, and a testament to the unifying and transformative power of music. Young the Giant and Milky Chance proved that no matter where you come from, when the lights go down and music starts, we all become part of something bigger, something that transcends time and place: a shared moment of musical magic.
As the Cal students trickled in from around the state and the world, and more great music emanated from the Greek, something was right with the world, if even just for a few hours.