The Naked And Famous Perform set of Thruway shows
Indie pop rock group The Naked And Famous recently played two shows in Upstate New York. They performed for crowds at opposite ends of the New York State Thruway; at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park near Albany, and the following night at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo (photos are from the Clifton Park show). Stellar Young and Humble Braggers opened respectively.
While not as widely known as their name might otherwise imply, The Naked And Famous have a loyal and enthusiastic fan base who know every song. The New Zealand band, now based in Los Angeles, consists of Alisa Xayalith on lead vocals and keyboards, Thom Powers on lead vocals and guitar, Aaron Short on keyboards, David Beadle on keyboards and bass, and Jesse Wood on drums. Despite having a very electronic sound, virtually everything was performed live with no obvious backing tracks.
Although Xayalith has the bulk of the lead vocal duties, the dynamic of having two lead singers’ works wonderfully. The two often sing harmonies together. On several songs Powers will sing the interlude while Xayalith takes the lead or vice versa. Xayalith’s voice ranges from soft and ethereal to strong and urgent, in a way that would not have been out of place in the emo movement. Her voice also seems perhaps slightly informed from having grown up listening to the folk music of her parents native Laos.
The shows started off with a pair of songs, “Water Beneath You” and the anthemic “Higher” off their most recent album “Simple Forms” followed by “All of This” and fan favorite “Punching in a Dream” from the debut album “Passive Me, Aggressive You.” Other songs performed included “Rolling Waves,” “Hearts Like Ours” and “Laid Low.”
While the set lists were nearly identical between the two shows, there were a few differences. The Clifton Park crowd got to hear “The Sun”- a deep track off their first album. In Buffalo, they performed two songs off the new album; “Losing Our Control” and an acoustic version of “Last Forever.”
The penultimate song of the main sets was the fan favorite “Girls Like You” with Powers on lead vocals. The song, a scathing comment on superficialness, always got a big reaction from the crowds and seems to have a bit of a cult following all on its own.
The main sets were brought to a close by the song that got them attention on the world stage, “Young Blood.” In Buffalo, Xayalith stated that this is the song that allows them to play places like Buffalo. The crowds erupted in cheers when the first distinctive synth notes started. Everyone was moving and singing along to the high energy song. At the end of each chorus, Xayalith would hold out the mic toward the crowd for the simple yet powerful “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!!”
Both shows ended with an encore of “Rotten” off of “Simple Forms.” The slow burn song was notable for Xayalith creating vocal loops throughout the song, allowing her to sing in the round with herself.
The Naked And Famous brought their infectious pop rock to Upstate and many left feeling pumped about the shows saying they would definitely go see them again. Here’s hoping they find their way back to these parts soon.
The Naked And Famous have a handful of dates left in the U.S. through the middle of July before heading to Europe for the summer.
James Suits / James Suits Photography / The Fuze Magazine
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