The Naked and Famous are not quite as internationally-renowned as their name boasts, regardless of their success in their native New Zealand, but the Bodega crowds’ excitement before the Electro-Pop band’s headline slot was more than tangible. Following on from Wolf Gang’s promising performance, The Naked and Famous started the show with an unusual song choice, ‘All of This’, which with its mid-tempo beats and oscillating crescendos made it a frustrating opener. Nevertheless, they made the brave decision of playing arguably their most popular song, ‘Punching in a Dream’ second, which really lifted the crowds’ spirits and allowed the band to shake off their somewhat hesitant dispositions.
Front-man and woman, Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, share beautiful falsetto harmonies and have real chemistry on stage, with Powers often stringing out discordant guitar notes that add darker layers to the band’s essentially classic pop music, and Xayalith firing out rippling synths while impressively whipping her hair back and forth more times than lil’ miss Willow Smith herself. Jessie Wood’s machine-precise, yet remarkably inventive drumming is fashioned by a half-acoustic/half-electric kit that drives The Naked and Famous’ thunderous and explosive set forward.
The band’s delicate track ‘The Sun’ nicely interrupted the set mid-way through, beautifully unravelling its subtle tones so that it echoed the minimalist experimentalism found in Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’. The heavily -distorted guitar riffs in ‘No Way’ following this further proved that this band are no one-trick pony, and ending on their anthem, ‘Young Blood’, The Naked and Famous sent their intimate crowd into a flurry of call-and-response ‘Yeah oh yeahs’, delivering the perfect ending to a very enjoyable gig overall.
Published for 'Impact Magazine' on 25th February 2011.