About 15 minutes into her set, Naked and Famous lead singer Alisa Xayalith stood in front of the stage of the Marquee Theatre and taught the audience the lines of the chorus to her next song, “Rolling Waves.”
The chorus, very simple, consisted of only three words, “like rolling waves.” The piece sounded like any other song by The Naked and Famous, beginning with a slow and peacefully verse and then dropping with heavily, repetitive guitar and synth rhythms. The repetitive lines of the chorus were a metaphoric hint of what the rest of the show was going to be like.
The band’s set was a perpetual balance of hard and fast songs followed by a few slow and quiet ballads. Like the song “Rolling Waves” the concert was a constant ebb and flow of power and then tranquility like waves crashing onto the beach then receding back into the sea.
From the start The Naked and Famous wanted to get the concert going with a big wave of energetic songs. The first couple songs were some of their quasi-hits like “Rolling Waves,” “Hearts Like Ours” and “Girls Like You.”
Then once the Xayalith and her co-lead singer Thom Powers had the attention of the crowd, they decided to slow it down. Instead of dropping loud bass rocking choruses, the band focused on quieter songs like “Frayed” and “The Sun.”
The greatest surprise came towards the end of the set, with Xayalith asking the crowd to “move your feet and dance to this one.” The band immediately played the intro to popular song “Punching In A Dream,” and the fans happily complied with Xayalith’s request.
Keeping with the theme of the performance, The Naked and Famous played one more song before leaving, with the stage darkened except for a dim light on Xayalith. The band immediately started to play “No Way.” The song is similar to most of the band’s slower songs, but after the chorus the band moves into a heavy instrumental break down. As the group finished up the last peaceful chorus they walked off stage without saying a word.
For the encore, the group started off slow with the song “The Mess,” which came to no surprise given the ebb and flow theme of the night. They then ended with a bang to finish with the hit “Young Blood.”
The way the band set up the set list was a risk and intriguing. But ultimately it worked to their favor and really gave the band a chance to showcase all songs, not just the fast-paced, popular ones.
Probably the best part about seeing the group live though was getting to listen to those hard hitting songs. Seeing the group truly gave the listener the sense of how phenomenal Naked and Famous are as performers and songwriters.
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