Show Review: The Naked & Famous @ Sound Academy
Getting Naked & Famous
April 5th 2012
Let me admit something; I’m a bit of a music snob. It concerns me when a concert audience is greatly comprised of girls dressed to go clubbing. Plus, I loathe the Sound Academy, especially when it’s sold out. (Who puts “Sound” in the name of a venue known for crappy audio? Moreover, who builds a venue with one exit? Seriously…) So while I’m excited to see New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous, there are so many obstacles my enjoyment must overcome right off the bat.
‘All of This’ starts the show on a shaky note. It’s so quiet that I actually remove my earplugs until the sound guy wakes up and raises the levels from “Bar Mitzvah” to “Large Scale Rock Show”. Thankfully, this does not set the precedent for the rest of the night. The 16 song set loosely follows the track list of their EP, Passive Me, Aggressive You. Cutesy pop beats slowly give way to harsher industrial sounds, peaking with ‘A Wolf in Geek’s Clothing’.
There’s always a looming uncertainty over electro bands when it comes to recreating their sound outside of a computerized studio. For a less-than-mainstream band, The Naked and Famous have an impressive live quality, in both sound and display. Picture Nine Inch Nails’ kid sister; that is what’s on stage tonight. The synths are spot on, the drums sharp and Alisa’s voice cuts through the electronic ambiance like church bells. Not to mention, a collective knee-weakening is felt every time her adorable Kiwi accent fills the silence between songs.
Only one thing attempts to derail the near-perfect flow of the evening, and that’s the inclusion of a B-side. Void of the usual electronic accompaniment, the relative quiet comes as a shock. Glaring spotlights replace the light panels and lasers, leaving the stage looking house-lit. And with the general fan base not singing or clapping along, it’s just an awkward few minutes all around.
The dueled anthem, ‘Girls Like You’ finishes the set, fading into synth obscurity as the stage goes black. Alisa, Aaron, David, Jesse and Thom return a few minutes later with ‘Outside’ before launching into the obvious ‘Young Blood’. The crowd explodes into “OMG I was hoping they would play this!” splendor. And even though it takes a good twenty-five minutes to squeeze out of that fire trap of a building, bumping into high-heeled dimwits the entire time, I leave smiling and satisfied.