The Naked And Famous and Nico Vega Knock ‘Em Dead In Dallas – 2/21/14

The Naked & Famous  - Darkhouse Image 2014-4


Nico Vega  - Darkhouse Image 2014-2Friday February 21 was a great night. Why? Because for the second time in four months I was getting to see THE NAKED AND FAMOUS in Dallas, that’s why. Last time was a headlining run at the House of Blues which was nothing short of fantastic; this time was a guest spot with IMAGINE DRAGONS, who I had zero interest in seeing. I was there for one band and one band only…or so I thought.

Unbeknownst to me, this group called NICO VEGA was first on the bill.Now I had never heard hide nor hair of them, being primarily a hard rock/heavy metal guy, but a young lady named Michelle was telling me how excited she was to see them in the media area before the gig, so now I was curious. They performed a short but powerful set, drawing loud cheers from those in attendance, singer Aja Volkman frolicking about, having a good time, and wowing me with her strong vocal performance. New single from their upcoming album Lead to Light called “I Believe” was definitely a highlight for me, and I made it my business to pick up their Fury Oh Fury EP at the merch table just to have something for the car ride later. Suffice to say I’m now a big fan of NICO VEGA, especially after they signed it for Mini-Amps.

Now it was time for my favorite New Zealand export, THE NAKED AND FAMOUS. Opening with “A Stillness” off of A&GS Top 5 Album of 2013 In Rolling Waves and then quickly delving into “Punching In a Dream” from 2010’s Passive Me, Aggressive You, they had me singing along good and loud. A few of the people around me looked to see where the ruckus was coming from but I didn’t care. This is one of my favorite groups in all the land that means the world to me and I’ll scream from the mountaintops if I want to. Besides, I wasn’t the only one. You could hear the audience getting louder as they performed “Rolling Waves”, then fan favorite (mine, too!) “All of This” which caused much dancing down in general admission.

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Another song I hold dear is “I Kill Giants” written by singer Alisa Xayalith about the death of her mother when Alisa was just seven years old. As someone who lost his own mom six years ago it resonates very well with me, and when it was announced as a single and video I was very pleased. Getting to see and hear it live twice in such a short time was the cherry on top, really. After that was my 2013 SONG OF THE YEAR in “Hearts Like Ours”. This is just one of those songs that I will never tire of. In fact it was on REPEAT the whole car ride to the American Airlines Center, as it has been a lot since last summer. Phenomenal song, the kind that comes once in a lifetime and I feel very privileged to have been in the same room while it was performed.

The quietus that marks the beginning of “No way” was made even more effective by the perfect lighting, and when the song goes into overdrive the whole band gets busy, most notably drummer Jesse Wood. As it reached its crescendo I couldn’t help but smile at just how perfect THE NAKED AND FAMOUS sound in an arena. Their songs are a dream come true, and with the lights setting the mood you really can’t go wrong. They opted to close with megahit “Young Blood” which had even the casual observers up and moving and singing along to the “eeyeah, eeyeah, eeyeah, eeyeah” refrains, once again causing Alisa to smile and smile big. I too left the AAC with a big smile on my face shortly thereafter, but my night was far from over. With In Rolling Waves as the soundtrack, I still had one more stop to make, but more on that later…

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