This week I decided to throw it back a bit and write about a group that visits the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area frequently during their tours. The Naked and Famous are a rapidly rising indie/alternative rock band from Auckland, New Zealand, and I can almost guarantee that you have heard at least one of their songs whether you realize it or not.
They are the type of band to have one of their upbeat hits plastered all over commercials aimed at the millennial generation in order to promote some new high-tech device. If you have seen the commercial for the Canon EOS DSLR camera or the recent Trident Gum Tropical Twist advert, then you have experienced the celebrated hit “Young Blood.”
The song has that distinct electro sound that has been making a comeback in recent years, as well as the synth-pop beat that I have alluded to in the last couple of columns. According to Nick Ward of The Nelson Mail, the song contains “the spirit of the youth,” and that could not be truer, especially after watching the music video. The video emphasizes rebellion and experiencing life through the eyes of today’s youth. In fact, the group’s other knockout single, “Punching in a Dream,” embraces almost that same sound of today’s generation with its similar synth-pop genre that is echoed in the keyboards and drums of members Aaron Short and Jesse Wood, respectively. The Naked and Famous are one of those bands that play music that should only be listened to at a high volume or, if possible, live, because the experience becomes that much better.
A few weeks ago I wrote on Chance The Rapper and his performance at Governor’s Ball in New York City. The reason I wanted to attend the festival was purely based around the fact that The Naked and Famous were playing mid-day and I could not stand to miss it. This would be my second time seeing the group, and it became my favorite show to date.
Last fall I was able to finagle tickets to their show at the 9:30 club. However, because of the limited capacity of the venue, I felt there was a lack of volume and amplification of the band’s sound, therefore they did not reach their full potential. However, being outside for the second performance was incredible due to the shattering noise of the bass drum and the high-pitched scream of the keyboards. When it comes down to it, and if you have a choice, you should really see the group perform in an open-air venue.
The Naked and Famous have been my favorite band, indisputably, for the last several years now, and they are only improving. The next song is always even better than the last. There are few bands out there that can play their set list and outperform their own music until the climatic spike at the end of the concert when we arrive at the presentation of “Young Blood.” The group has a distinct sound to their music, which I believe is why they have developed such a strong following not only here in the United States but all over the world at different venues and festivals each time. Despite having a large fan base, the group hasn’t yet taken off as I thought they would have at this time last year or even two years ago. Their shortage of success may be attributed to the lack of banter and fan interaction during performances, something I wish they could do more. Interaction with a fan base speaks volumes for a group; it makes the fans believe that they are being appreciated and a part of a group’s rise to fame.
Nevertheless, The Naked and Famous are still an ascending band, hungry for success and hopefully their stock will continue to rise. Whether it be the miraculous voice of lead singer Alisa Xayalith or the power of lead guitarist Thom Powers (pun not intended), I am positive we will all know who The Naked and Famous are soon enough.
Indoor Concert Grade: B+
Outdoor Concert Grade: A
Songs: “All of This,” “Rolling Waves,” “Young Blood”
Bryson Greene is a senior in the College. THE BEAT appears every other Friday.