State Theatre Portland
Young The Giant

Young The Giant


Sat, November 10, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

State Theatre

Portland, ME

$27.50 Advance / $30 Day of Show

This event is all ages

Buy tickets in person at the Port City Music Hall box office (504 Congress Street) Wednesday-Friday 10AM-5PM, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online right here. State Theatre box office will open one hour before doors night of show.

Young The Giant
Young The Giant
This fall, Young The Giant will embark on a fall headline tour with very special guest, Lights.

Tickets go on sale Friday June 22, but presales begin Monday June 18th. Sign up for the Young The Giant newsletter at before Monday to receive the pre-sale code.

Listen to Young the Giant’s new song “Simplify” now at

Los Angeles quintet Young the Giant continue to brave new sonic landscapes with their wildly adventurous third album, Home of the Strange. On this new release, the band explores their expansive musicianship with boldly eclectic arrangements anchored by a keen melodic presence.

To direct the band’s continued evolution, they collaborated with producer Alex Salibian (Elle King, Mikky Ekko) and Executive Producer Jeff Bhaskar, 2016 Grammy winner for Producer of the Year. Thematically, Home Of The Strange builds from the opening track “Amerika”, a song inspired by Franz Kafka's posthumously published and unfinished novel of the same name. The poignant message and bold sonics on Home of the Strange have been met with critical acclaim, leading to an NPR interview expanding upon the immigrant experience and Rolling Stone referencing “a new-wave sheen that flatters (the band).”

Young the Giant first broke through with their 2010 self-titled debut album, which featured the RIAA-gold certified hits, "My Body" and "Cough Syrup." This was followed by the release of 2014’s Mind Over Matter, which was both a commercial and critical success and prompted The New York Times to call [Lead singer Sameer Gadhia] “one of the great contemporary rock voices.” Since then, the band has toured the world, with their most recent route featuring sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall, The Greek Theatre, and Aragon Ballroom. They have become a festival mainstay at high profile outings such as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Governor's Ball among others. Over the course of their career, Young The Giant has charted 5 singles on the Billboard Alternative Top 10.
Always pushing boundaries, alt-pop phenomenon Lights has never shied away from a challenge. Through her first three records, Lights built an incredibly passionate fanbase, selling out tours around the world, earning 100M in U.S. streams, 200K in U.S. album sales, and two JUNO Awards, not to mention the 2M + rabid fans who follow her every move online. Yet through this success, she felt like she had more important things to say through her music but just didn't know how to get them out.

Then came En, short for Enaia, a fictional character from a fictional world created in Lights' imagination that is not altogether different from herself. Throughout a year long process, she began secretly working on an unprecedented idea writing and drawing her own comic book based around this alter ego of sorts. And on top of that, just to make things more difficult -- an album to coincide with the whole thing.

Thus came Skin&Earth, the Canadian singer's fourth record and her most open and vulnerable to date. "In the past, Lights wouldn't write about being angry or Lights wouldn't write a song about fighting or Lights wouldn't write about sex," she says. "So En is me in another dimension, and I was able to write about all the things that I never wrote about before."

The setting for Skin&Earth revolves around the last city left in a post-apocalyptic world that is lost to famine & plague, devoid of hope. A super corporation called Tempest runs everything from the media to the water rations to the schools. "There's a lot of commentary in the story about how we've taken and taken and taken until there's nothing left and that's how this apocalypse has happened and that's why they're in this last bastion of humanity." The environment being a topic close to Lights' heart, she states, "It was awesome. It was freeing." She continues, "That's the whole vibe of the record and the comic. This meandering search for hope in a hopeless world that you really never know what you're gonna get. You really never know what's gonna happen until the end."

Lights received advice from comic heavy hitting friends the likes of Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine) and G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) on the project. Initially wanting Vaughan to write the book, she says "He reminded me that I'm a writer already. He gave me the faith in myself to believe I could do it."

She seemingly transcended through to a new level of creativity while working on Skin&Earth. "Once you open that part of your brain, you open the floodgates and it never ends. From that day on, a year and a half ago, it has never ended. My mind is constantly flowing with ideas. And I've never been more creative or inspired and I've never had more faith in myself to actually accomplish something."

Growing up with Calvin and Hobbes, Herman and The Far Side, Lights has been a lifelong fan of comics including current favorites like Saga, Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet, and The Wicked + The Divine which all star or are created by other strong women. Comics have even influenced her music all the way back to her first record, The Listening, with her character Captain Lights. "It's always made its way into my aesthetic and the way my art is. But never to this degree."

The album form of Skin&Earth also brings help from some of music's brightest including Corin Roddick of Purity Ring, Big Data and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. "Everything that happened on this record was really fun and natural and felt like we were all working towards the same goal," she says. "It was this organic mutual fan-ship kind of thing that brought it all together." She continues, "This is the most fun I've had doing a record. I've never felt that I understood a record more and I've never felt like I understood a reason for a record more."

Each track weaves effortlessly between topics of hope, hopelessness and romance including the anthemic first single "Giants" and the gloomy "New Fears" where she says "The sound is generated by the mood of that chapter. Chapter 5 is very moody and dark and the song emulates that." New themes began to emerge for Lights during the writing process as well for this album. "There's a song on the record called "Savage" and there's anger in it -- I've never written like that before," she says.

For advice on how to consume the Skin&Earth record and comic book combo, Lights suggests that "they're better absorbed separately and each of them augments the other. So you can listen to a song on its own and it's something completely standalone. And then you can read the comic on its own and it's standalone as well. But when you put them together and you start to connect the dots, there's something so much deeper there."

Ultimately for Lights, the most important takeaway from the story of Skin&Earth is of a young woman entranced by a spirit that she and she alone must overcome. "This is based on internal, emotional stress and turmoil -- stuff that I've dealt with and stuff that a lot of people have dealt with. I've always believed that all those battles can be fought and you come out of this stronger. And that was the foundation of the story," she says. "At the end of the day, if nothing else, I want people, especially young women, to see in this character a little bit of themselves -- see that an ordinary person can do amazing things and fight battles nobody else can see, and there's no shame in that. In fact, there's a lot of beauty in it."

This admirable self-reliance is rare in pop—in fact, Lights, signed a publishing deal at 16 and began writing songs for other artists—but after her 2008 self-titled debut EP (precocious enough to earn her a best new artist Juno) and gold-selling full-length follow-up The Listening, Lights was ready to open herself up to collaborations on her unexpectedly experimental album Siberia. And by choosing such leftfield collaborators as live electronic outfit Holy Fuck and rising rapper Shad, she also opened up her sound.

“It’s a huge step,” she readily admits. “For a year after my first record, I was confused and searching. I was writing all over the place and not finding anything that was essentially different. But after tour last year I was turned onto dubstep.”
The genre’s grimy beats and sonic minimalism influenced the creation of Siberia, if not necessarily shaping the music itself (though she does pay homage with a dubstep drop on “Fourth Dimension.”)

Rather, dubstep led Lights away from the “perfection” of her past work. “Everything was tuned and timed just right. The new stuff is raw and gritty but still pop with a focus on the melodies. It’s the marriage of those two that make it really different and unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

This dirtier direction came from collaborating with Holy Fuck, a fellow Juno-winning, electronic-influenced Canadian act who she met when both played the dance stage at last year’s Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK. Impressed by their “grime and grit,” she decided to see what might happen when she infused her pop sensibilities with their experimental tendencies.

“I went over to Brian [Borcherdt’s] house with Graham [Walsh] and we just started jamming until something started to form, as opposed to the last record which was more structured and less live feeling. We wired old synths and toy synths through all these pedals and machines from their junk table,” she laughs. “They’re straight-up mad scientists.”

Her other main collaborator was Shad, who she knew through a mutual friend. “He’s so humble and so intelligent,” she says, “and I knew he’d kill it.” Indeed, Shad drops his typically articulate knowledge on the crunchy, soiled “Everybody Breaks a Glass” and “Flux and Flow,” which Lights describes as “the perfect marriage of this sweet melody and the hardest beat ever. It’s about how that applies to life because you have to be soft and you have to be strong.”

Lyrically, the album is light years from her last, which was written when the singer, who spent much of her childhood travelling to places like the Philippines and Jamaica with her missionary parents, had left the nest and landed in Toronto. “A lot of those songs came from a sad but hopeful place. I was alone and pondering a lot. I’m a lot more aware of the person I am now and each of these songs is about an experience I’ve gone through,” she says. “This record came from a very happy place.”
Then why is it called Siberia? “It’s based on something that was said to me, that we could be happy even in a place like Siberia. It was such an inspiring thing to say, because Siberia is cold and a little daunting and represents unfamiliar territory.” That last bit is particularly sticky for Lights, who left her safe pop haven for these unexplored sonics, though the metaphor carries even further because despite being an infamous land of ice and exile, Siberia is epically beautiful and so is Siberia.

The dividend from her early award-winning success—not to mention her sprawling online footprint which includes over a half-million Facebook fans and over a quarter-million Twitter followers, not to mention a cult fanbase amongst the Comic-Con set—is her current artistic freedom.

Her up-for-anything experimentations with Holy Fuck produced an astoundingly eclectic album that belies its snow white title. Siberia’s diversity leapfrogs from the hip-shaking dance-pop of “Toes” and the arms-up anthem “Banner” to the singer-songwriter-y romantic ballad “Cactus in the Valley,” written on an acoustic guitar, and the nine- minute instrumental album closer “Day One” which sounds crafted by a rusty, lovesick robot—but that didn’t make recording her sophomore album any easier.

“For the first one, nobody had any expectations for what I was supposed to sound like. You write your first record only for yourself. You don’t have fans yet and there are no preconceptions. So I had to reinvent myself all over again, rediscover myself as an artist and remember I can do whatever I want.”
Siberia‘s beats skitter and thwack, the retro electronics fire like decomposing lasers and the analog synths dirty up her trademark pretty melodies, propelling Lights’ emotion-soaked but still-cute croon into her sprawling, imperfect new sound.

Call it anti-electro, dream-step or perhaps even grit-pop. Whatevs. Just rest assured that it’s the same bright Lights; she’s just built herself a bigger city.
Venue Information:
State Theatre
609 Congress St
Portland, ME, 04101