The Naked & Famous @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 20th May 2011

This was the first time I had seen The Naked & Famous play live. They had been nominated in the BBC Sound Of 2011 long list but unfortunately did not make the top 5. I was well aware of this New Zealand based Rock Pop band last year after they released Young Blood on Neon Gold. This five piece band consisted of David Beadle, Thom Powers, Aaron Short, Jesse Wood and Alisa Xayalith. Debut album Passive Me, Agressive You was released this March. When it came to the doors opening nobody opt to go into the o2 queue which was a surprise considering this gig was a complete sell out. It was very relaxed inside as I had enough time to view the merchandise and still get the position at the front barrier. The night kicked off with Nerdy. To sum it up the band was not to my liking.

Next on the night was Alpines. This band were amazing but I know very little about them. This 7 song set I guess was a showcase of material that should feature on the debut album. The songs were amazing and I was captivated till the very last song. Based on the set the future looks very promising for this band. I look forward to seeing them live again.

SET LIST

Ice & Arrows
Fossilised
Odyssea
Drive
Saviour
Cocoon
Lights

The crowd were all geared up for the headline slot. Basically by this time it was packed. The set performed by the band was the whole album in its entirity plus 3 old tracks. When they made their entrance onto the stage there was a rapturous applause. They then launch into the short song The Ends. One of the lyrics to this song was “It’s all about to end at last”. Now the night was just getting started. Following on straight after was A Wolf In Geek’s Clothing. While this song was rather loud it did have moments when the vocals were really soft. The moment the first chords of Punching In A Dream were played there were squeals of delight. This song jumps out at you straight away. It is upbeat and has catchy lyrics making it pure pop perfection. After Punching In The Dream raised the bar it was then onto the rock thumping Spank which was delivered perfectly. Following on was The Sun and this sounded completely different to the other tracks that had been sung. It was then onto the first old song of the night and this was Bells which appeared on the No Light EP. This song was very upbeat and it was a real crowd pleaser. Frayed followed on straight away and this was a mesmerising song which Alisa sang faultlessly. Thom Powers also sings part of the song and the fact he sang his part in unison with Alisa was amazing. “So you guys are amazing. I don’t know what else to say. I’m blown away” Powers said before the band launched into the debut albums opening song All Of This. The song was a real crowd pleaser and plenty of people were jumping up and down. Yes there may of been a bit of bad language but it didn’t stop it from being a gorgeous song. No Way started off acoustic. It felt soft and gentle with Alisa Xayalith’s sweet vocals. Then the band kick in and I was literally blown away. The screams and applause after the song were deafening. Xayalith then starts singing the start of Jilted Lovers acapella style then the rest of the band join in seconds later. The song itself oozed plenty of energy and the vibe given off by the crowd was electric. “Here’s a really old one” Alisa told the crowd before launching into the powerful Dadada. The song which was the opening track of the No Light EP went down well with the crowd. It is always a pleasure to hear old material. The forthcoming single Girls Like You ends what was a fantastic set. The majority of the song is mainly sung by Thom and Alisa has her own parts as well. The band go off stage and the chants for an encore start. “Hello Again” Powers said as soon as they made their way back onto the stage. The first song of the encore was Eyes. This song was delivered strongly and I found it to be wonderful at the same time. “This was the first song we ever wrote as The Naked And Famous” Powers said to the audience before getting stuck into the upbeat Serenade. The song itself went down a storm with the crowd. There was then trouble with the drums and Thom Powers said he wasn’t great at stage banter. Once everything was good to go it was onto the final song of the night and this being Young Blood. This is when the comparisons with MGMT come into play. Still the song was a real crowd pleaser. Everyone was jumping up and down to this wonderful electropop song. The best gigs are the ones with an electric atmosphere and this gig certainly had that

SET LIST

The Ends
A Wolf In Geek’s Clothing
Punching In A Dream
Spank
The Sun
Bells
Frayed
All Of This
No Way
Jilted Lovers
Dadada
Girls Like You

ENCORE

Eyes
Serenade
Young Blood

OVERALL: The question comes down to would I see The Naked & Famous again and the answer to that one is yes I would. Basically they were phenomenal live and I reckon they will go really far. They already have a die hard fanbase as there were some Kiwi’s in the audience supporting their home town band. When you have people like that you know you are onto a winner. The songs on the night were amazing and Young Blood was a brilliant choice of song to end on. I think my two standout songs from the set had to be Punching In A Dream and All Of This. As for the support acts Nerdy was not for me while I was captivated during the set by Alpines.

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