The Naked And Famous played to a huge crowd on Sunday night in Chicago, proving that you can still have a great time before the dreaded Monday sunrise. Forming in 2007, the New Zealand transfers have been consistently performing for nearly a decade and have finally cemented a place in American music. Now calling Los Angeles their home, the band are currently touring to promote their third studio album, Simple Forms. Lead singer and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith delivered an otherworldly and eclectic performance that had the audience screaming for more.
Before TNAF took to the stage, the Chain Gang Of 1974 (a project led by musician and DJ Katmin Mohager) opened the night with his sound of indie and electronic music that welcomed those trickling in from the unusually warm Chicago streets. Mohager achieved indie success as a former member of 3OH!3 and has since released six albums and EPs, but touring with the Naked And Famous brought new listeners to his work. Playing keyboards and providing simple yet powerful vocals, Mohager certainly had the crowd’s attention throughout his set.
Following Chain Gang’s performance, brother-sister duo XYLØ gave the audience a taste of their sultry and bluesy sound. The group had just released a single with powerhouse duo the Chainsmokers that day and channeled all that positive energy into their show. This single, “Setting Fires,” has the potential to rocket XYLØ into the charts, and vocalist Paige Duddy could easily carry the group to star status. While the band has yet to release a full album, they played a full opening set of original material and kept the audience intrigued and dancing.
When the Naked And Famous came on stage, the audience instantly knew their music. Whether playing their older and more well-known songs or selections from their newest record, the band consistently connected with the crowd and gave every ounce of energy they had to them. With many bands, those who aren’t considered the ‘frontman’ can fade into the background; with TNAF, the songs relied on every member just as much as Xayalith. Guitarist and backing vocalist Thom Powers often shared the limelight with Xayalith, while drummer Jesse Wood drove the beat of the show and often had audience members guessing the song before anyone began to sing. While the band is still rising and hasn’t reached every radio station yet, the possibility of this is not far-fetched. The Naked And Famous could comfortably sit as a successful indie band, or, if they keep pushing, they could become just as big as any chart topper.