Review: The Naked and Famous Captivate The Forum

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Alisa Xayalith of The Naked and Famous. (Michael Sandoval)

Alisa Xayalith of The Naked and Famous. (Michael Sandoval)

New Zealand’s alternative rock music act The Naked and Famous captivated The Forum Friday night.

After the success of their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You and the hit single “Young Blood,” the band is currently on tour to promote their sophomore album In Rolling Waves.

The band (frontman Thom Powers, lead singer Alisa Xayalith, keyboardist Aaron Short, drummer Jesse Wood, and bassist David Beadle) performed a medley of tracks from their first album and current release that welcomed fans to a fantastic live set. For a stadium as large as the newly renovated Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, their song “A Stillness” was pretty appropriate as the place began to fill in gravitated by Xayalith’s melodious vocals.

With the combination of gold lighting and the pink and blue light show beneath the star speckled ceiling of the gladiator-like Forum, the show definitely set the tone for the night of symphonic rock with tracks like “I Kill Giants,” which charged on the locale with much might.

The audience seemed very receptive to the new single “Hearts like Ours,” a track that also sees Xayalith’s hands work magic on the keyboardist. It’s always great to see performers who have the ability to throw down on a keyboard live while singing. The song itself truly set the tone for a new chapter in the band’s history with solid lyrics, illuminated by the lead duo and backed by music that just builds until everyone is stomping to the drumbeat.

Favorites such as “Punching in a Dream” got the crowd amped up and the band dedicated that particular song to the Anti-Valentine’s day crowd. Then, along with Powers, the band performed their hit “Young Blood” which by the looks of the couple-filled venue seemed to be the song of many lovers there.

That by no means is a bad thing, but a testament to the power of music. Valentine’s Day was definitely the night to see just how much a single song could speak to people on an individual level and to their personal relationships to it, as couples swayed and sang it to each other.

What’s great about The Naked and Famous is that their live sets definitely work in any venue. Just like the song “Rolling Waves,” for example, because its music flows and seeps into an intimate space but can shout-out loud and reach every corner of a place as large as The Forum with the same ethereal quality as hearing it in your earphones. That’s not something just any band can pull off. You may be surrounded by bunches of people but the music is so accessible that it just washes over you.

The Naked and Famous was definitely an enthralling smooth synth-pop dose before the fuel injected set of electro-alt rock headliners of Imagine Dragons.

The Naked and the Famous will continue to support Imagine Dragons on the “Into the Night” tour, but also are scheduled to headline at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas. Additionally, they will be performing at Coachella before embarking on some international tour dates.

Sabina Ibarra is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter: @Phoenix
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