Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Young the Giant, Phoebe Ryan, MTSU performers leave crowd wanting more at Spring Concert Series


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Photos by Makayla Boling and Max Leach / Contributing Writer and Assistant Lifestyles Editor

Story by Max Leach / Assistant Lifestyles Editor 

The MT Spare Signature Concert series returned to Murphy Center on Thursday, with epic performances from Mills Turner & the Local Grocery, Phoebe Ryan and Young the Giant.

The highly anticipated spring 2019 concert kicked off with high energy, as supporting act and current MTSU students Mills Turner & the Local Grocery hit the stage. Frontman, guitarist and singer Mills Turner instantly hyped the crowd up with his large stage presence and unique guitar tones, as their jazz-influenced psychedelic ballads rang through the arena. Friends and fans alike sang along with the songs, as Turner enticed the crowd to chant the lyrics, “I need you like I need water,” before going into their next song. Turner introduced the band as each member delivered tasteful solos to the tune they were playing.

Their set got the crowd on their feet, as the audience danced along and cheered for their peers. While it was short and sweet, Turner and his friends certainly left the crowd begging for more, and excitement was raised for the following acts to come.

Minutes after the band’s equipment was taken down, a bass-heavy backtrack played and the lights dimmed as solo act Phoebe Ryan was welcomed by fans. The pop singer brought a friendly energy to the audience, sharing stories behind her songs, with multiple live debuts of tracks from her upcoming album scheduled for release in May.

“In 2009, I put a cover of Young the Giant’s ‘Cough Syrup’ on YouTube, and the band reached out to me. We’ve been friends ever since,” Ryan shared with the crowd.

Her style was reminiscent of contemporary pop artists like Carly Rae Jepsen but carried a heaviness relative to artists Blackbear and The Chainsmokers, both of whom she has collaborated with. As her set came to a close, the crowd’s anticipation skyrocketed for the headlining act, Young the Giant.

The house lights dimmed again and the crowd began to scream, as the strumming of a guitar started and they walked on stage. The band kicked their set off with an epic performance of their song “Oblivion.”

Singer and frontman Sameer Gahdia brought absolutely terrific energy to each song. Dancing and jumping around the stage as he sang, with the audience joining along.

“If you like what’s on the screen behind us, you can thank your friends. MTSU students like you created what you’re seeing,” he said.

The band seemed to be really enjoying the response from the crowd, as the entire Murphy Center shook and rattled with each song.

Gahdia also relayed some advice about doing what makes you happy and sharing what you love with the world to express yourself.

“And that’s what I’m here to do with all of you guys tonight,” he said. “Now, this next one’s called Firelight. I want all of you flick a lighter or shine your flashlights at us when we get the bridge, and really take in and respect the quiet parts of this song,” Gahdia said.

The result was a humbling experience, as if everyone responded to the sentiments behind the song.

The band played hit songs like “Cough Syrup” and “Mind Over Matter” and closed out with “Call Me Back,” but the crowd wanted more. Band crew members walked on stage to switch out equipment as the audience demanded an encore. The band delivered, beginning their four-song encore with “Superposition” and closing with “My Body,” to which the entire arena sang along.

The entire floor of the arena was jumping and dancing, and the night closed with a great applause and ovation from everyone.

“Thank you, we love you,” Gahdia said before tossing setlists and drumsticks into the crowd.

The entire arena radiated delight as students filed out of Murphy Center, making the spring 2019 concert a night to remember.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Mamie Lomax, email

For more updates, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Life.

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