All the way from New Zealand The Naked and Famous had come to the House of Blues in Dallas. I was on pins and needles all day waiting for the hour to arrive. And imagine my pleasant surprise when I learned The Colourist was opening. I made sure to be there for their set which turned out to be a lot of fun. Playing songs from their EP Lido, as well as tunes from their forthcoming full-length, they kept it pretty light, and had the crowd dancing. They surely gained some new fans that night, especially when some of those in attendance realized their song “Little Games” is the one from the Nokia Lumia commercial. I could see light bulbs going on over many, many heads!
Finally, the clock struck 10 and The Naked and Famous took the stage. They elected to open with “A Stillness” and “Hearts Like Ours” from brilliant new album In Rolling Waves, much to my delight. I’ve made it publicly known my unwavering love for that song, and hearing it so early had me and those around me screaming with glee. “Girls Like You” was next, and really got the place hoppin’ before giving way to Alisa Xayalith’s lilting vocals on “Rolling Waves”, another favorite from the new record, and “I Kill Giants”, a very moving song dealing with Alisa’s mother dying when she was just seven years old. That one really hit home for me, especially live, and I thought it was beautiful. The dark and brooding “The Sun” was sandwiched between them as well.
The band got a breather when Thom Powers took the helm for “Grow Old” as a change of pace, and I was disappointed in the number of people flocking to the bathrooms or the bar. The man’s up there singing his heart out and because it’s a slower new song, some people just couldn’t be bothered. Well, I loved it. I also loved that perennial favorite “All of This” was next. I’ve listened to this song a thousand times, and watched it a bunch on their One Temporary Escape live DVD, but nothing takes the place of actually being there for it. It is sheer magic, I tell you.
Alisa playfully teased the crowd introducing fan favorite “Punching In a Dream”, eliciting some of the loudest cheers of the night. Drummer Jesse Wood is plenty busy on this one, as there’s plenty going on. And that’s the thing a lot of people fail to realize. Even though there is a significant amount of keys and programming, at the end of the day, The Naked and Famous are a live band, and they all play their instruments very well. That’s also why the songs sound so tight.
A pair of new songs, “What We Want” and “The Mess” quickly followed, the latter being a nice call and response between Thom and Alisa that when it kicks in, it does so to an awesome light show that only adds to its heartfelt delivery. “No Way” closed out the official set, but we weren’t kept waiting long.
The band gave us one more new number “To Move With Purpose” before ending with the one song that both us die-hards and the casual fan have in common, “Young Blood”. At this point the crowd went completely nuts, me included, and when Alisa held out the microphone for the “eeyeah, eeyeah, eeyeah, eeyeah!” ‘s the response was deafening. Judging by the smile on her face, Dallas was giving them even more love than they were hoping for. All in all, it was a wonderful night. The Naked and Famous’ music is very special to me, and live it simply transcends words.