New Zealand natives The Naked and Famous played The Wiltern Friday night. Highlighting their new album, In Rolling Waves, these now-Los Angeles residents could not have been more thrilled and grateful to rock one of the city’s best art deco venues. The more singer and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith repeatedly thanks the audience for their attendance and support and it quickly becomes apparent that there is an air of awe and excitement throughout the room.
TNAF eagerly rushes to the stage and blasts into “A Stillness,” a melodic, progressive new song from their sophomore album. Backlights flash with every bang of the drums. Certainly, the slow and steady pace creates anticipation for the rest of evening’s entertainment. Xayalith’s voice is smooth with just the right amount of buzz, a pleasant improvement from the performance earlier in the week at the Red Bull Sound Space. Vocalist/guitarist Thom Powers harmonizes with the rest of the group during “Hearts Like Ours,” giving enough weight to balance out the female element. After the strong introduction to their new music, the frontwoman greets the crowd and thanks them for the warm welcome. She also mentions that they will be sure to play some old songs along with all the new. They then detonate a dance bomb with “Girls Like You.” The fun, fast tempo leaves everyone with nothing to do but sing and dance along.
By the time they progress into “Rolling Waves,” the entire audience is swaying along. Their bodies puncture the soft glow of purple and blue lights flushing through the room. Xayalith pulls out a tambourine for the breakdown and one cannot help but think that this song could use a little more cowbell to sweeten the deal. Regardless, the audience claps along as “The Sun” picks up. With a soft and sweet start, this is a nice relief to the heavier flood of sound from the previous song. Tiny green and red lights blink up and down the stage like fireflies at the start of “I Kill Giants.” Though the crowd may not be entirely familiar with TNAF’s new music, they are receptive to the band’s expansion in sound and live experience. The entire performance now becomes a more deliberate interaction as the band nods along to the crowd’s jumping in “All of This” as a sign of approval and pleasure.
Upon hearing the intro to “Punching in a Dream,” the crowd erupts into a buoyant mass, bobbing up and down with glee. The sea of jumping bodies expands across the entire room, and the night only becomes more satisfactory. Peppering in a few more new songs, they move into “What We Want” and “Waltz,” bringing in a darker song with a richer sound. Not to be outshined, “No Way” still smashes the faces of the crowd as it gets louder and louder every time the hook recycles. This indeed proves to be a strong finish to a fun show. However, no concert is complete without giving the fans every ounce of what they want to hear. They return to perform “To Move with Purpose,” and “Young Blood.” Even though a few bodies have trickled out, most stayed for the duration of the encore to drink in every last delicious sip of the set.
The next step for The Naked and Famous is to tour their new album across America, Canada and Europe. In Rolling Waves translates so well in the live setting, that it is not to be missed. Find out where to see TNAF live next at their website.
Hearts Like Ours
Girls Like You
I Kill Giants
All of This
Punching in a Dream
What We Want
To Move with Purpose