Naked and Famous at the Fillmore, 10/18/13
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 10/18/13
Naked and Famous was in total control at the Fillmore. From the first chords of "A Stillness," every string pluck and cymbal crash had been calculated, presumably in some sort of rock laboratory. Frontwoman Alisa Xayalith appeared onstage, clad in black, and with a turn of her hand towards the crowd, she instantly broke a few hundred hearts. Despite her cooler-than-everything persona, though, Xayalith appeared genuinely surprised throughout the show that she had won the audience's affections so easily.
Brandon Marshall The Colourist
The Fillmore was half-full (or half-empty, depending on your level of worldview) when the show began. It was cold out and the lack of warm bodies didn't help, either. The coat check lady had a lonesome night. Orange County pop act the Colourist performed an abnormally long set for an opener, pushing the Naked and Famous's start time to just past 10 p.m. So the cavernous room and overly excited crowd made for an odd juxtaposition. All this was easily forgotten, however, when the headliners appeared and played three of their best tracks: "A Stillness," "Hearts Like Ours" and "Girls Like You."
At this point in the set, mortal bands would be finding their groove, settling in, working the crowd. But The Naked and Famous are not mortal. The energy ran high from the start, as the New Zealand quartet took elements of '80s synth pop and that Gang of Four groove that was so popular circa 2001. They parlayed this into some monster pop anthems. It was like the Pretty in Pink soundtrack vomited on a Millenial.
There's a balance here: make the music familiar without boring the fans. This, The Naked and Famous did perfectly. With a light show that would cause a kitten to convulse and big, over-the-top singalongs (Xayalith gave instructions on how to sing the chorus to "In Rolling Waves," just before performing it), the band melded anthemic pop with a tinge of weirdness. The Naked and Famous have the most unfortunate band name this side of Bang Tango, but who cares? This is not music that calls for deep introspection.