Young the Giant brings high energy to indie rock Fall Fest

Performers bring big energy to second show at Center for the Arts


Fall Fest was Verzache’s first time performing for a live crowd. Ever. 

And although Young the Giant has performed at UB before, Saturday was the first time students bowed at the lead singer’s feet.

The night of firsts wasn’t shaky, however, as fans and newcomers alike put on a stellar indie-themed Student Association Fall Fest at the Center for the Arts.

Young the Giant’s lengthy and vivacious set was part of the second show in this year’s concert series. The band’s high energy, “indie-rock” performance –– its second at UB after Spring Fest 2015 –– was a sharp mood change from the mellow and wholesome opener, Verzache. But both performers brought out roughly 500 students of the roughly 700 who collected their tickets from the SA Box Office –– numbers which fall below half of the CFA Mainstage’s 1,700-person capacity. Marc Rosenblitt, SA entertainment coordinator, said the show cost roughly $170,000 total, with production costs approximated at $70,000 –– covering staffing, CFA rentals and other equipment rentals –– and talent costs at $100,000.


Throughout the show, Young the Giant exuded seductive confidence as the band worked the stage. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia was a firecracker, as he thrashed, jumped and danced around, taking the crowd through the group’s energetic set. Gadhia’s eccentric outfits –– which at one point included a cloak –– and captivating vocals added to this energy. His voice ranged from a rough, rock sound to a sweet falsetto, marked by seamless transitions between the two. 

The band’s set had an equal balance between explosive rock ballads, like “Cough Syrup,” and heartfelt, soulful tunes, like “Titus Was Born.”

The atmosphere of the CFA further electrified the set. The stage lighting flashed to the beat of the music, nearly sending audience members into a hypnotic trance. 

ALEXIS HENG | The Spectrum

Sameer Gadhia, frontman of Young the Giant, plays a tambourine during a few songs while performing at UB's Fall Fest.

Patrick Quealy, a freshman business administration major, was impressed with the band’s energy.

 “I’ve loved these guys for years and it was awesome getting to see them live because all their shows were in places that I couldn’t get to. So this is great,” Quealy said. “[Gadhia’s] voice sounds exactly the same live as it does recorded. I think that’s huge for an artist.”

 The band returned to the stage with Gadhia donning a blue and silver cloak. The band sang two of its most anticipated songs, “Silvertongue” and “My Body,” to the now-bowing crowd.

 But opener Verzache didn’t need a cloak, or any stage experience for that matter, to entertain the crowd.

ALEXIS HENG | The Spectrum

Verzache, a solo artist from Toronto, Ontario, performs at UB's 2019 Fall Fest.

The singer performed a mellow, laid-back set and opened the show with his song, “What Happened,” which managed to bring the sitting audience to its feet. 

 During his set, Verzache responded to the yelling audience, which praised the young performer with verbal wedding proposals. 

 The singer, relatively unknown to the UB crowd, owned his spot on the stage and won skeptical viewers over. 

“I never heard him before. And this was flippin’ great,” Maddy Ginter, a freshman biomedical sciences major, said. “10/10 recommend.”

The performer was on top of his audience-engagement game, making sure to address his new fans between every song. Although his set created an undoubtedly different type of energy than Young the Giant’s, audience members were still captivated by the shy, yet sweet charm Zach Farache oozed. 

“[My favorite part was] when I screamed, ‘I love you’ and he giggled,” Winner Evu, a sophomore communication major, said. “Oh my God, that was my favorite part for sure.” 

The fresh singer was obviously nervous throughout his performance, fiddling with his earpiece and awkwardly jumping intermittently during a few songs, but the crowd’s reaction kept him rising above his first-show jitters.

For those who aren’t a fan of the hip-hop direction that Fall and Spring Fests have taken in recent years, Saturday’s concert delivered on wishes for the inclusion of indie-rock. And Verzache and Young the Giant did not disappoint. 

The arts desk can be reached at 


 Julianna Tracey is a freshman music theater and history double major. She’s excited to explore all that the Buffalo arts scene has to offer. 


Reilly Mullen is the news editor for The Spectrum. She double majors in English and political science. She enjoys arguing with frat boys and buying cool shoes.