Finally... I got to see The Naked and Famous last night. While they're not naked, and only a little famous, I've been eager to see them since buying their first album some time in 2011. I was familiar with the singles they had on AltNation (SiriusXM), but didn't actually buy Passive Me, Aggressive You until it had been out almost a year. It was instantly a favorite.
When they released "Hearts Like Ours" as a single last year, I was so stoked for the full album, In Rolling Waves. It was even better than the first. I honestly can't understand why they're not bigger than they are beyond the fact that the recording industry and its promotion is a mess, and people generally have poor taste in music. It could also just be that my tastes are often not compatible with others.
If I had to describe why I'm into them, it's because they blend a female vocal, electronic sounds, guitars, fantastic percussion, and a whole lot of noise into something that I find awesome. Many of their songs kind of build and build into this delicious noise.
I found out that they would be here in Orlando just a few weeks ago, and our friend and neighbor offered to watch Simon for the evening. We arrived about a half-hour before the time listed on the tickets to find that they weren't letting anyone in. We ducked into a little bar across the street from the Beacham, which is downtown on Orange. It was a cheesy little tiki bar, but ideal because it was virtually empty. At 8:10, we peeked outside to see they still hadn't let people in, and it was raining. Lame. We hung out there until 8:45 or so.
The Beacham was apparently a vaudeville theater when it opened nearly a hundred years ago, and then went decades as a movie theater. It's your typical standing room arrangement, with long stair ways down each side, and a balcony in the back. The balcony doesn't have a lot of room, but it's the kind of place I like to hang out to not spill my beer (though I did not have a beverage this time). It reminds me of the Odeon in Cleveland a little, may it rest in peace.
I'll be honest, I hate standing room shows. I've kind of outgrown them, I guess, which is to say that maybe I'm too old for that shit. Diana doesn't care for them either. If that weren't enough, there were two opening bands, which was also suboptimal because we don't do late nights very well. Probably because we have a child. I did enjoy White Sea, however. I didn't get the name of the first band.
The naked folk took the stage at 10:30, and played 14 songs in about 75 minutes. Obviously, with only two albums, there's only so much material to draw from, but the set made me realize just how much I like almost every song they have. In fact, they probably played my four favorite songs first: "A Stillness," "Hearts Like Ours," "Girls Like You" and "Rolling Waves." It was like I was out of breath in the first 20 minutes because I was completely blown away. They're so tight on stage, without it sounding "like the album." The two singers are great live. And the drummer... I guess I just took it for granted that it was all machines, but he was fantastic.
What's cool is that many of their songs lend themselves to live music because of that "building" feeling they have. "The Sun" starts out softly and has a constant vocal that works almost as a chant, with the noise getting louder and louder over it. Meanwhile, "Punching In A Dream" and "Young Blood" are crowd favorites that get the crowd singing along.
It's worth noting that their light show was pretty epic and imaginative for the relatively small number of instruments they were using. I haven't seen a good light show in awhile, and I really appreciate that.
Go see them if you get a chance, but buy both albums from The Naked and Famous regardless. I think they're really excellent, and they make the kind of music that you can just lose yourself in with headphones on.