Fireball cinnamon whisky shots combined with The Naked & Famous’ dreamy New Zealand synthpop tunes, it made for a non-stop-fun evening. TNAF came to Orlando’s Beacham Theater fully equipped with an intricate array of lighting, backdrops, and stage props. Like I needed any help dancing to their music, the Fireball shots turned my normal dance routine (the shuffle) into a questionable “Is that guy Ok?” thrash-dance. Perhaps it was the equivalent to a real-life version of “like punching in a dream.”
I first learned about TNAF on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and never lost sight of them as they still remain on heavy rotation. One of the most notable Kiwi bands is the ever-great Flight Of The Conchords who I caught in Orlando a few years ago (they finally completed a successful tour!). TNAF are not in congruence with their fellow Kiwi’s tour dilemmas, nor do they have an HBO TV series. However, TNAF have a pretty full basket of sing-along, dance-along, singles from both of their album efforts. Their breakthrough single, if you will, “Young Blood” remains their most successful song. Although this was the closing song in their encore, it’s a must listen to get things started off right. I caught a bit of it from the actual show on the Shows I Go To instagram:
I caught TNAF the last time they were in Orlando at Plaza Live but I was suffering from alcoholism mixed with mild narcotics so I blacked out so there is no review of that show. I don’t even think I had this shitty website yet. This time, despite the heavy flow of Fireball, I remained sober enough to properly document the show while having a good time.
The Naked And Famous began their 14 song set with the first two tracks off their 2013 release In Rolling Waves. The most recent single “Hearts Like Ours” offer lyrics contradictory to a common experience at their live performances “half awake and almost dead.” Based on both times I’ve witnessed them perform, I have definitely been wide awake and very alive.
They continued their set with the last single released on their debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, “Girls Like You.” As I pointed, singing along “people write songs about girls like you,” I continued my thrash-dance routine to the puzzled looks from my girlfriend.
TNAF write songs to effortlessly get lost to. They lure you in and carefully cradle you, rocking you gently until you slip into hypnosis caused by the sounds and words you are now a breathing part of. Without warning, you snap out of “All of this” to find yourself rocking-the-fuck out as far from “a stillness” as possible. TNAF seem to carefully plan this journey as if “to move with purpose.” Here’s a shitty pic:
Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers continuously produce one-two punches vocally and lyrically making their compositions harmonically sound and uniquely memorable. It’s truly a form of magic. Their drummer and bassist, Jesse and David respectfully, produce progressive heart-grasping melodies delivered through their live instruments and onstage energy. The solidifying factors, and at often times the most prominent, are the infectious keyboard hooks and audio-samples produced by Aaron and Alisa. They offer harmonic progressions and elegant cadences that can be quite versatile throughout their musical arrangements.
Illumination can really make or break a show. The Naked And Famous must truly understand this because their lighting was superbly fitting for their performance. Subtle at times, bright and out of control at others. Stage props that seemed to glow… It was fucking awesome.
They continued their set with their unhurried electro song “Grow Old” which came previous to one of my favorites “All Of This.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say “you fucked it up” more sweetly than as Thom delivers at the end of “Grow Old.” It’s one of those songs you know will never be a radio single but the one all of the true fans adore. I am becoming more and more infatuated with their new album. I’m actually a bit disappointed that I failed to purchase the vinyl at the show due to lack of monetary resources.
“All Of You” is the opening track of their debut album Passive You, Agressive Me. The track is very driving and very anxious at times. But when it hits that three minute mark and the guitar kicks it for a solo, everything becomes Ok and it’s all you hoped for. As you rock out for the next 60 seconds, and your brain tells you “Yes, this rules,” you realize you’ve again become victim to TNAF’s hypnosis. Check out the abusive video for “All Of You” below and you’ll see when Alisa still had jet black hair!
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