The Naked and Famous >> and Imagine Dragons made a stop into downtown Phoenix on their Into The Night tour. It was a monumental show a sellout crowd at US Airways Center and a display of 2 bands' popularity finally approaching to the level of their talent.
The Naked and Famous got it going around 8 o'clock as New Zealand's Alisa Xayalith and friends took stage to perform 'A Stillness' which really threw me off at first. All the reverb in that track along with the insane amount of bass pumping in the Purple Palace made it difficult to hear the vocals so I couldn't even tell it was N&F on stage. That and Alisa is now blonde with super short hair and was rocking an outfit she may have gotten in The Matrix from Neo.
They followed that song with a more recognizable one in 'Punching In A Dream' and the soundstage seemingly had made some ad hoc adjustments which made it was clear The Naked and Famous were the ones letting loose at that moment. That same band I saw insecurely yet commandingly perform in Chicago at Lollapalooza 2011 in the middle of the first day.
[related: Lollapalooza > Day 1 ]
The level this band has evolved to in 3 short years is surprising but I'm not shocked they have this enormously deserved following. With each song came an added degree of stage exploration and before long Alisa had taken the mic off the stand to navigate the uncharted catwalk and mingle with the sea of peeps in the pit. The lighting and fog machines must have been synced with her movement too as it seemed those got put to work more and more as she moved about.
They closed out the set with 'Young Blood' from their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You. This version was a lot more synth-heavy and featured a ton more distortion on guitar and it was fucking dope. I think it was a combination of those intricate enhancements and a 2014 gusto that made this rendition that much more powerful.
Oh and Imagine Dragons performed too. They headlined actually. Not to be outdone by the preceding band, frontman Dan Reynolds used every inch of the ginormous stage as well but even optimized the stage's side ramps and railing to serenade the corners of the arena. I wasn't much a fan of Imagine Dragons prior to tonight but the hullaballoo over what I skipped at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Vegas last year and the awesome performance featuring Kendrick Lamar on SNL a few weeks ago got me increasingly curious.
[related: Life Is Beautiful >> in Downtown Las Vegas]
They are a talented bunch and Dan is the man with a powerful voice and full of energy. Some shit was a little cheesy - like the sporadic huddles in the middle of the stage and Reynolds' frequent gravitating toward that huge marching band bass drum to beat then dramatically tossing the drumsticks into the air - but overall it was a really superb performance and the start of a beautiful fanship.