The performance lineup at this year's MTV Video Music Awards included such pop, R&B and hip-hop stars as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Adele, Bruno Mars and Chris Brown. However, there was only one act holding down the rock front: up-and-coming indie outfit Young the Giant. And within hours of the show's end, the five-piece band--a former MTV PUSH Artist of the Week--found itself on the Billboard 200 for the first time.
"We didn't know we were the only rock act until a couple days before [the show] and that made us a bit more nervous," recalls lead singer Sameer Gadhia, whose fellow members include guitarists Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata, bassist Payam Doostzadeh and drummer François Comtois. "With the new generations of bands, it's very hard for rock to hit that realm; we're not on top 40 radio. But playing to an audience like that at the VMAs was amazing for us."
Following Young the Giant's performance of first single "My Body," which included 300 fans from the group's hometown of Irvine, Calif., the band's self-titled Roadrunner Records album bowed on the Billboard 200 at No. 130. The full impact of the group's VMAs performance was felt the following week when the album skyrocketed to No. 42 (10,000 copies sold), according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set was initially made available through digital outlets last October; its physical version was released in January.