At a Washington, D.C. performance, the audience had the rare treat of seeing The Naked and Famous perform up close in a small venue. The New Zealand/LA alternative rock band played on April 2 at the Rock and Roll Hotel, a trendy former funeral home turned concert lounge decked with vintage decor, on D.C.’s H street corridor, to a packed house of around 400 people at a sold out show.
Opening for the Naked and Famous was D.C.-based band Color Palette, which stepped in to perform that evening because Australian-based band The Rubens was unexpectedly detained at a Canadian airport.
Color Palette put on a great show to a very engaged audience. The 5 person rock/electro band performed 6 songs: Pieces, Ginger, Bullets, Lie to Me, Rain and Seventeen.
An active band since June 2015, Color Palette’s first full length album will be released in May. Color Palette’s 5 members are: Jay Nemeyer (vocals/guitar), Maryjo Mattea (vocals), Josh Hunter (guitar/keys/ bass), Matt Hartenau (drums) and Rogerio Naressi (keys).
After the band left the stage the audience waited in anticipation for The Naked and the Famous, and then cheered and clapped wildly when band members Alisa Xayalith (vocals, keyboards), Thom Powers (vocals, guitars), Aaron Short (keyboards), David Beadle (bass) and Jesse Wood (drums) stepped up to perform.
Formed in 2007, the indie electronic band hails from Auckland, NZ, and has been based in Los Angeles since 2012. Its name isn’t suggestive, as it may seem, but was taken from British band Tricky’s song “Tricky Kid,” which refers to ambivalence about the concept of fame.
The Naked and Famous has released two studio albums: Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010) and In Rolling Waves (2013). During the performance, The Naked and Famous performed 7 songs from Passive Me, Aggressive You and 5 songs from In Rolling Waves, weaving back and forth performing songs from both albums. The audience was also treated to hear the band play 2 new unreleased songs during the show.
Launching the show, The Naked and Famous started off with “A Stillness,” the song they routinely begin their shows with–the first song on In Rolling Waves.
Since it was a small venue, the audience, with the closest people standing inches from the stage, experienced an interactive experience with Alisa and Thom talking directly to them.
After the opening song, the band played “Punching in a Dream,” from the first album, to a delighted audience, who sang along with the words: “Yay-yay-yay-yay-yay, I don’t ever wanna be here,” and then: “Wo-oah, Wo-oah, Wo-oah,” later in the tune. It was the first song of the night during which Alisa and Thom both sang and their vocal interplay was an extremely engaging aspect of the band’s performance throughout the show.
Next up was “Girls Like You,” from Passive Me, Aggressive You, a lovely song, during which the audience sang along. “Rolling Waves,” from the second album, followed up, and many people swayed their arms in the air during the song. “The Sun” and then “All of This,” both from the first album, were performed next.
After that the band performed “Higher,” which Alisa explained is a new unreleased song. The audience clearly loved the upbeat new song and from their notably energetic response it seems that it may well be the band’s next hit.
Following up was a string of additional crowd pleasing songs: “I Kill Giants” and “What We Want” from In Rolling Waves, “Frayed” from Passive Me, Aggressive You, and then “Hearts Like Ours,” returning again back to the second album.
The band then performed “Runners,” the second new unreleased song, to a very receptive audience. “No Way” from Passive Me, Aggressive You was the last song they played to finish out the regular set.
Alisa then explained to the crowd that they weren’t going to step off the stage for the usual encore routine but finish out the show. The audience was clearly waiting expectedly for the performance of their last tune–which not surprisingly was their catchy mega hit “Young Blood.”
Synthpop/electro song “Young Blood” debuted at #1 on New Zealand charts when it was released. The song topped charts worldwide, including #9 for Billboard’s U.S. Alternative Songs, #14 for U.S. Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, and #45 for U.S. Rock Songs.
The audience energetically rocked out and sang along with their arms in the air while Alisa sang: “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” and then they gleefully shouted along with Thom–not whispered–when he sang the words: “Can you whisper?”
It was a perfectly upbeat ending to an outstanding show.
The Naked and the Famous is reportedly working on their third album. After hearing “Higher” and “Runners,” the album will most assuredly be worth the wait.