Over the past few years Vancouver has become an important stop on a lot of band tours. Quite often, bands seem to be starting or ending their tours here in our city. The latest band to add to that growing list in The Naked and Famous. The New Zealand group ended their Spring tour with two shows at The Commodore Ballroom. The crowd on the second night (the show I saw) was booming with energy the moment I walked in.
The Naked and Famous bring a great lighting and visual show with them on the road. They have a large light wall that covers most of the back of the stage. It, along with dozens of other lights, were in cue with the music all night. The bright white flashes from the light wall would illuminate the Commodore. Looking around during these flashes, I was able to see just how high energy the crowd was. Every person on the floor was dancing. People were crowd surfing. It was an infectious energy.
Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers were so in synch all night as well. The two would only share a slight glance, and then would break into a new song. Powers is one of the most modest and, I wanna say, chill lead guitarists I’ve ever seen. Come to think of it, the entire band was modest and appreciative. You could see the sincerity in their faces when they thanked the crowd. As they drew from their album Passive Me, Aggressive You, and treated us to some new songs, the crowd kept up with the band.
Powers commented on how much shows in Vancouver have meant to the band – “Our first big tour (of North America) started here as an opening act…Now this tour ends here.” Alisa added “We always have such a good time here in Vancouver.” This is mostly because of the large and receptive crowds, but the fact that they have spent some time at The Morrissey on Granville might have factored into that feeling. I also learned, from one of Timbre Productions staff members at the show, that the band was spending an extra night in Vancouver and were all planning on going to the M83 show the following night.
The show ended with the band’s hit Young Blood. It was the final encore. It was the final song of the tour. The crowd knew this, for most of them this was the song they were most excited to hear. The crowd was jumping, the band was jumping as they performed. The crowd was singing, the band barely had to. When the music ended, Alisa Xayalith got the opening acts as well as the crew to join them on stage. Once the entire group that had been on tour together for months got on stage, one of the lovely Commodore waitresses brought out a tray of shots. They didn’t say what they were, but I feel they looked quite a bit like Jagger shots.
Whether it is the amazing live venues, the receptive crowds, the other shows to stick around and enjoy or just the great bars nearby, Vancouver remains a destination stop on countless tours. Great artists like The Young and Famous, and M83 for that matter, grace our city week after week. Of all of these shows I am lucky enough to see, it is the ones like I saw on this night at The Commodore that I love. I went in as a small fan of the band. I only really knew Young Blood. After all the encores and shots were done, I was leaving the Commodore as a “won over” fan. If I had the cash on me, I would have bought one of their tour shirts, likely the sweet one that had the alphabet written on it. If you were at this show, it is the same shirt that David Beadle, the bassist, was wearing.
Photos © Jamie Taylor
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