I could have stayed home last night and caught up on sleep and work but that’s not my style. I’m on a bender and I can’t stop, won’t stop. I found myself at my home away from home of First Avenue. I didn’t know anything about the bands playing but it was a show and, with a couple days in a row under my belt, why stop now?
The show started with a bang last night as The Chain Gang of 1974 took the stage. This indie/electro pop group definitely got the crowd warmed up, just like an opener should, but the crowd seemed to respond to them a lot more than most opening acts. I think the main reason for that was the undeniable energy that was coming off of the stage. It may have been early in the night but singer Kamtin Mohager acted like he was headlining the show with how much he was moving around.
The Chain Gang of 1974 can actually be referenced as Mohager’s solo project that comes complete with a touring band. Mohager has a DJ background but it’s not as easy to tell as you may think. I was beyond surprised to find out that Mohager was actually the touring bassist for 3OH!3 for a couple of years. It’s hard to picture him doing that after seeing what he did last night. The music, although chill, wasn’t boring. The way he would hop up and down and dance throughout the set really gave it a completely upbeat feeling. Even with being upbeat, it really didn’t have that “DJ feel” to it hence why I was so surprised to find out about Mohager’s background.
The Chain Gang of 1974’s set seemed too short and within thirty-five minutes, they were leaving the stage and making way for the other opening act, Xylo.
Xylo is brother sister duo from California that is taking the indie-pop world by storm. Joined on stage by two touring members, Chase and Paige Duddy are clearly the stars of this band and steal the most attention, specifically Paige. Paige Duddy has a beautiful voice that catches you off guard. The minimalist music that accompanies her really helps her shine.
This was Xylo’s first full tour and, even though they got their fame through the internet and being featured in a PacSun video with Kylie & Kendall Jenner, they proved last night that they are so much more than a passing fad. With only an EP out at this time and rumors of a full length album in the works, these guys are poised to take over the radio waves very soon. If they aren’t on your radar, you should probably change that.
Headlining the packed show were New Zealand natives, The Naked & Famous. These guys are in no way a new band having been around since 2007 but it seems like they are finally hitting their stride and getting the attention they deserve.
TN&F’s music has a unique indie-pop sound that, at times, is super upbeat but, at other times, super melancholy. The two moods of their music merge beautiful just the like the voices of Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers. The Xayalith and Powers do a sort of call and response thing in their songs, it’s enough to give you chills. Their voices just blend together perfectly and sound angelic at times. Mix that with the instrumentation full of electronic sounds behind them and you get something truly unique.
TN&F have had huge success with singles on the radio including, my personal favorite, “Punching In A Dream”, but the songs that really stood out were the ones that have not hit the level of being on the radio left. It was remarkable to watch the audience be captivated by this band and be truly respectful of the music. The crowd ate up every note and every single song was followed by roaring applause.
TN&F only have three albums out right now including Simple Forms which just came out last month. They did a good job of playing songs from all of their albums but, if you aren’t a huge fan, you really wouldn’t be able to tell. It seems like since day one, this band has stuck to their roots and has been consistently writing catchy, yet beautiful, songs.
Sure, I could have stayed home last night but what’s the fun in that? Life is always more fun when you’re at a concert.
Venue: First Avenue
Sausage Fest Meter- 4 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- None
Broken Bones- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score-7 out of 10
Show on Deck- The Dirty Heads