Walking into the Vogue Theatre Sunday night I was pretty bummed that I wasn’t able to photograph The Naked And Famous, but heck at least I was able to see them, listen to them and eventually review them!
The evening started with openers The Colourist whom I hadn’t heard of until the show, and judging from the crowd’s response to them I was not alone in experiencing them for the first time. I wish that more people were able to easily get into music they don’t know, but The Colourist’s tried. There was a great mix of vocal sharing between guitarist Adam Castilla and drummer Maya Tuttle- something about a female drummer/lead singer that just makes you fall in awe. It took the crowd five or six songs to get engaged, and hopefully it was because the music was a good build up for TNAF and not just because the band shared stories of drinking.
The Vogue felt like a large house party- of course it kind of looked like a house party that I would not normally be invited to, perhaps just a bit too subdued. Sigh. The crowd, downstairs at least, was very young- but then again what should I expect when the main song of the night would be (***spoiler alert***) “Young Blood”. A guy in the crowd wore a shirt which read “Listen to Slayer”, priceless.
Eleven, not technically challenging, songs later The Colourist left the stage followed by a roar from the young crowd. Although it was fairly simple music, it was fun music- it was music I would have enjoyed dancing to if I had been in the middle of the crowd and not an outcast at the back.
The lights go out, a synth line starts, a bit of bass rumbles through the crowd and the cheering begins. The excitement was intense for A Stillness, a song from the latest album, as a light shined down onto frontman, Thom Powers, as he strummed into a catchy and pleasant acoustic guitar riff. Right from the start of the song you could sense the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck stand on edge and as the lights flashed on and off of Alisa Xayalith as she sung the opening lyrics, which coincidentally were mentioning ‘strike spears of lights’.
How the heck people thought to take out their phones and record the song is beyond me. I know I was doing my best to pay attention to the crowd and everything that was going on around me- but that is because I felt I had to in order to write a review. But people, the music was loud the excitement was building, the light show freaking brilliant for the song, and Alisa’s voice phenomenal despite her being sick. Oh well, I digress.
During “Girls Like You” Alisa was seen fist pumping her microphone, smiling wide and even a wink to the crowd. She knew the crowd was having fun, or was that wink directly to me as she shared in my sentiment that Thom’s voice is quite weak live?
If you don’t know The Naked And Famous then what you need to know is that the theme of the night truly was “simple fun”, perhaps a play on their name the theme could be Stripped Down And Popular. Perhaps I should download all of their lyrics and see if there is a deeper meaning to the songs than to be catchy, simple, sing the chorus, and dance around type songs. The crowd did seem to crash a bit by the sixth or seventh song, but briefly regained their energy for Punching In A Dream.
In fairness to the previously suggested statement of the music not being the kind of music that people make deep attachments to, the crowd did show an emotional attachment to the slower song No Way, but that didn’t come until right before the encore and could be because the crowd wasn’t as young as they had originally thought. They were unable to keep all of their dancing and jumping up and down for as long as they thought, or perhaps they didn’t even want to keep their dancing up. The good news is that they didn’t have to keep the energy up for very long.
The Naked And Famous played only thirteen songs and were done in just around one hour. The show really was what should have been expected. There was a great light stage, some fun music, but nothing too out of the ordinary… it was Stripped Down And Popular!