Anyone who decides to name their band, The Naked and Famous probably isn’t taking themselves too seriously and expecting to become famous unless they really are planning to strip down to their birthday suits and flash unsuspecting civilians. But there was no need for the members of TNAF to succumb to porn or flashing to gain attention within the indie rock scene.
In case you didn’t know TNAF are a post-punk/synth-pop quintet from New Zealand, whose name was inspired by one of their musical influences Tricky. Their name itself is attention grabbing enough and chosen because of a line in one of Tricky’s songs where he repeats that everyone just wants to get naked and famous. Yet it’s their catchy, electric tunes that will make them a memorable fixture in your head. The band originally formed in Auckland’s MAINZ music college when Thom Powers met Alisa Xayalith, and from there everything just fell into place. In 2010, they delivered a strong debut studio album Passive Me Aggressive You that has received several nominations and awards. Their music has been featured on television series like Gossip Girl and the Vampire Diaries, in video games and sampled by other artists. Their huge commercial hit Young Blood was even sampled by the likes of Machine Gun Kelly which created some bad blood between the musicians about copyright infringement via numerous tweets from MGK and TNAF. But the samples could never compare to the real thing, the album is worth listening to if you haven’t heard it yet. The energetic fast paced electric tunes accompanied by insightful lyrics has definitely become a favourite of mine.
So needless to say I was incredibly excited to see their name posted amongst new concert listings at Rotate This. I snatched up my tickets fast before they sold out and waiting in agony for April 5 to arrive so I could witness the awesomeness of TNAF live. I wasn’t disappointed. They opened up with All of this, one of the best tracks on the album and the crowd loved it. Singing along, hands waving in rhythm to the beat, people pressed forward and got lost in the performance. I was amazed by how many people knew the words and I watched transfixed as they sang my favourite part…
As the plans turn into compromise
the promises all turn to lies
the spite builds up
and it can’t get through
Passive me, Aggressive you
I know I nag, I moan I know
but with a plan like this
it’s way too slow
in the time it took to get this here
I could have made this work
but all I had was…
the hope that pieces would take shape
and we could watch them all fall into place…
a complicated sing-along to pull off but I guess when you have devoted fans like these, it can be done. Alisa was flawless, conveying meaning through expressive hand gestures and sidling up to Thom. Head bobbing to Punching in a Dream and swaying to The Sun I was in a perfect state of bliss. Especially when Thom sang a heart wrenching delivery of Girls Like You. The whole set seemed to fly by much too fast although they played every song from the album. Impressive yet I was hoping that they’d interact with the audience more. But I guess they preferred to express themselves through their music and expressive hand gestures and melodic swaying. The light show definitely helped increase the excitement and kept the crowd happy. I even heard they’d be autographing merchandise after the show but after the spectacle of their encore where they closed with Young Blood I was satisfied. Nothing could have made it a better night. I came, I saw, I left on cloud 9.