Indie-electronic band, The Naked and Famous, made the world fall in love with their sound in 2010 when the group released its debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You. After making their first appearance of 2016 at the Auckland City Limits in New Zealand in mid-March, the band will head back to the studio to finish writing and recording their third record. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles-based New Zealanders will play intimate shows in Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. The band made their return to Los Angeles with a sold-out show Friday night at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
The five-piece Australian alternative rock band The Rubens opened the show, performing six songs to the full crowd. Their soulful and melodic rock sound soon became an instant favorite among the attendees. Five of the songs the band performed came from their first EP My Gun, with the other being “Hoops,” one of thier most popular singes. After The Rubens finished their set, The Naked and Famous took the stage, opening with a few songs from their latest album, In Rolling Waves.
An echoed synth-chord filled the darkness of the club followed by a strumming from Thom Powers’ acoustic guitar on “A Stillness,” the opening track from In Rolling Waves. Lead vocalist Alisa Xayalith was wearing all black and rocked a dark pixie haircut. She said the band was genuinely thrilled to be playing at such a historically rich place as The Troubadour. She also highly encouraged fans to jump and dance around. Less than 10 seconds into the hit “Punching in a Dream,” the audience grew exhilarated as the blitz of synth-pop melodies reached their bodies. At one point the audience overtook Xayalith’s vocals, singing louder and louder to the chorus of “whoas.” The energy at the venue and the band’s enormous stage presence was incredibly electric, the pit resembled an intimate rave party.
Power took the lead on “Girls Like You.” He drenched the venue with a summer-like vibe, getting the entire crowd clapping, jumping and singing along. The band also provided a balance between electronic-infused beats and traditional indie-rock, continuing straight into “Rolling Waves,” the band’s most rock-oriented song. Things then slowed down with “Hearts Like Ours” and “Grow Old.” The room lit up with purple lights giving Powers the spotlight as he sang gently. The Naked and Famous then entreated fans with “Higher,” a performance which kept the crowd bobbing their heads up and down to the group’s latest single. It seemed like The Naked and Famous’ fascination with synthpop continues.
The band touched a nerve of nostalgia as they began to wrap up with the track everyone had been waiting to hear — “Young Blood.” The massive hit played on the radio countless times in 2011, serving as a summer anthem for many. Xayalith reached out and touched the hands of fans in the front row as the sparkling boom of synth filled the room. She once again encouraged the crowd to join her and sing out the song’s “yeah yeah yeah” chorus. Shortly after, the band bid their farewell, transforming the entire club into a giant mosh pit accompanied with high energy and mindless dancing.
The Naked and Famous will head to Toronto Friday, after their two-night mainstay at the Teragram Ballroom and the Troubadour in Los Angeles.