Live Review: The Naked And Famous – The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Thu, 22 Mar 2012 09:41:40
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The Naked and Famous are the ultimate 21st century rock band.
Their sold out show at The Wiltern last night had no shortage of modern indie panache and timeless arena-ready bombast. In essence, it's the balance between intriguing, irresistible songwriting and explosive presence that makes the Auckland, New Zealand quintet so undeniable.
As the lights went off on a crowd teeming with anticipation, a massive light wall flashed in tandem to drummer Jesse Wood's tribal beats during "All of This". Strobes flickered and lasers blazed, elevating the venue to an otherworldly plane where The Naked & Famous run free and rule everything.
Vocalist Alisa Xayalith sounded pristinely perfect crooning the verse, "It's the same fucking habits. I guess we don't know." Vocalist and guitarist Thom Powers traded lines with her seamlessly, adding a hypnotic hum as the song slipped into an entrancing harmony on the refrain carried by both singers.
Powers punched up the distortion to eleven, sharpening "Punching in a Dream" with a psychedelic edge mirrored by images of Jason Voorhees masks and vibrant colors. Hearing Xayalith scream "Nightmare" was strangely soothing as Aaron Short's rapturous electronics amassed to a warm embrace. During "Spank", the eyes and teeth on the screen added a level of psychological intricacy a la Tool just belying the vulnerability inherent in Xayalith's utterly gorgeous delivery.
Powers and bassist David Beadle steered the ship to another galaxy altogether during "The Sun", and the only proper response was to hold on tight as everything sped up in a calculated fashion. The Naked And Famous also tap into an infectious industrial intensity the world hasn't seen since Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile. "A Wolf in Geek's Clothing" and "Frayed" proved to be beautiful brutal as an onslaught of keyboards, riffs, and lights rumbled and roared in glorious cohesion. It was like crash landing on the most brilliant sonic planet imaginable with a surprise around every bend and break in the road.
The Naked AND Famous go all out with the show, and that was the most refreshing aspect. They aren't afraid to shine, and as the massive sing-a-long for set closer "Young Blood" evinced, the audience isn't afraid to go deep with them.
There's no one like The Naked And Famous. Not only do they have unforgettable tunes, they know how to entertain. If The Beatles and Nine Inch Nails fucked like animals, you'd have something like The Naked And Famous. Even that's not enough to describe them though. This century is theirs for the taking…
Were you there?