THE NAKED AND FAMOUS
THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974, WHITE ARROWS
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
Doors 7:00PM / Show 8:00PM
This event is 16 and over
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS
The Naked And Famous reached the end of a remarkable two years in June 2012, finally leaving the road having completed a 250 gig campaign reaching 24 countries in support of their debut album Passive Me Aggressive You (Fiction Records).
The journey began with the release of the single “Young Blood” in their home country of New Zealand in June 2010. The delirious hit went straight in at the top of the NZ charts and has gone on to be viewed over 20million times on Vevo and Youtube and heard in countries many thousands of miles from their home. It is now certified Gold in the U.S. and Canada, and Platinum in Australia and New Zealand.
TNAF have built an ever-growing audience around the globe for their pulverizing live shows, a blend of the pure pop exhilaration of the hit singles “Young Blood” and “Punching In A Dream” with the thrilling dark electronic arts that drive the group’s sound.
In between sell-out tours of Europe, the USA and UK, the band took away a record-breaking haul of eight NZ Music Awards, including the big prizes of Best Album for Passive Me Aggressive You, Single for “Young Blood” and Best Group.
They add these to the NME Radar Award collected in February 2011 and the Silver Scroll songwriting prize already won in 2010 for “Young Blood”, the song that saw TNAF explode onto the world stage and airwaves this year. The group’s masterfully melodic blend of rock and electronic elements fronted by the boy-girl vocals of Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith has made them a festival hit around the world in 2011 and Passive Me Aggressive You a critical favourite on its way to already selling over quarter of a million copies. The self-produced Passive Me Aggressive You received glowing four-star reviews in Uncut and Mojo and many other publications. NME’s 8/10 review called it a ‘glorious melting pot of pop perfection’, saying that the band’s ‘passive melodicism and aggressive innovation clash in a dazzling blaze of psych/sonic fireworks’.
TNAF’s 2011 festival triumphs include Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Latitude in the UK, Lollapolooza, South By Southwest, Fuji Rock in Japan, Australia’s Big Day Out, and Germany’s Rock Am Ring. These five young New Zealanders have at their disposal a seemingly effortless ability to capture the giddy fun and relentless hooks one has come to expect from the very best electro-pop, while at the same time striving for something grander, more brooding and atmospheric.
Their production skills were honed since the day TNAF formed in the early weeks of term at an Auckland music college. Initially they were a duo of Thom and Alisa, with Aaron Short providing behind-the-scenes production with Thom on their 2008 EPs, This Machine and No Light. Drummer Jesse Wood and bassist David Beadle had joined by the time TNAF began writing and recording Passive Me Aggressive You – the recording process itself still taking place in a mix of bedrooms and small studios with Thom and Aaron always at the controls.
Their achievements to date already mark this New Zealand band as an exciting one in the new generation of electronic rock acts. A young group of warped sound merchants making do-or-die, heart-in-mouth, chart-bound pop to invest your heart and soul in, they’ve taken their meteoric rise and the workload of hundreds of gigs and relentless touring that goes with it in their stride. Passionate about their music and connected to their equally fervent legions of fans, The Naked And Famous are very much not the emperor’s new clothes, they’re something special indeed.
The Naked And Famous are:
Aaron Short – keyboards, vocals
Alisa Xayalith – vocals, keyboards
David Beadle – bass, keyboards, vocals
Jesse Wood – drums
Thom Powers – vocals, guitar
THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974
"My brothers and I were surrounded by music growing up," explains Kamtin Mohager, the shape-shifting singer/multi-instrumentalist behind the Chain Gang of 1974. "Not Beatles albums or anything like that; more like the Persian records our parents played all the time. And when we got older, it was up to us to discover everything." Born in San Jose and raised in Hawaii, Mohager spent his first 13 years obsessing over inline hockey and the idea of being drafted by the NHL one day. A series of life-changing events were set in motion once Mohager's family moved to Colorado, however. The first of which involved the final scene from Real Genius—quite possibly Val Kilmer's finest hour—and its penultimate ‘popcorn song', a.k.a. "Everybody Rules the World." "I love ‘80s music, but not typical new-wave stuff," says Mohager. "Like I'm way into Tears For Fears and Talk Talk, the other side of the spectrum, really." That's abundantly clear on White Guts, a record that's nearly as restless as Chain Gang's previous collection of early recordings, Fantastic Nostalgic. The way Mohager sees it, his first proper release was "all over the place, from a piano ballad to songs that sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream or Justice." White Guts, on the other hand, funnels three years of instrument-swapping, sample-splicing experience into a lean, focused listen. So while "Stop!" and the rather epic "Hold On" hint at everything from LCD Soundsystem to Talking Heads, they make perfect sense in the context of deep cuts like the synth-flecked "Don't Walk Away" and bass-guided "Matter of Time," shimmering power ballads that could have been on the soundtrack of Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink. What sets the Chain Gang of 1974 apart from other Reagan-era revivalists is Mohager's innate sense of rhythm, a skill he acquired at an early age. And we're not just talking about his parents' punchy, groove-riding record collection. We're talking about family gatherings and traditions that taught Mohager how to make a crowd of cool kids uncross their arms and dance like there's pistols pointed at their feet. "Everyone lets loose at our shows," says Mohager. "It's a party, man. If only I had a dollar for every time someone bum-rushed the stage or grabbed one of our instruments." Things are bound to get worse, too, as his live band—a quartet that's a far cry from Mohager's original iPod/bass setup—spends the next six months spreading the Chain Gang gospel far beyond its Rocky Mountain beginnings. Or as the man behind every last beat puts it, "I'm letting the music just be, and if something's meant to happen, it's meant to happen."
White Arrows may never divulge the source of their strange magic, but it's hard not to picture a mystic dance floor hidden in the midst of a tropical rainforest. The Los Angeles band stands at these balmy crossroads like a vision from an alternate reality: classic without leaning on nostalgia, visionary but not unfamiliar. What should be a collision of sounds and styles—ritualistic rhythm and four-four thump, synth sequences and strummed guitars, garage-y grind and airy atmosphere—is, in this quintet's capable hands, a fluidly seething whole. Call it Psychotropical pop, something both busy and breezy Call it Paul Simon in space (others have). Call it what you will. This is White Arrows.
The White Arrows story begins with a blind boy. Singer Mickey Church was born seeing the world as an impressionistic smear. His vision was righted at age 11, but his imagination ran wild for the intervening years. Since he couldn't make out those around him, he assumed they couldn't see him either. He rode made-up horses and sung songs that didn't exist. His memory of growing up in L.A. is confined to smells, sounds and swaths of fuzzy color. Mickey's father, a student of African percussion, encouraged him and his little brother Henry to pick up instruments as kids, so they played what was around. With family back east, Mickey eventually left for NYU, and unexpectedly wound up with a degree in shamanistic ritual.
Mickey's studies led him to examine the thin line that separates genius from insanity in art, and inspired him to create music that blurred familiar borders. In a Bowery basement, he made what would become the White Arrows EP—demos that took on new life once he returned home. Soon, Henry picked up the sticks. Their old friend J.P. Caballero joined on guitar, with Andrew Naeve on keys and beats, and Steven Vernet on bass. The five bonded over a shared love for sensory overload both aural and visual—essential to the White Arrows live show. And with only a 7-inch to sell, they toured with Cults, Those Darlins, and the Naked and Famous, played Sasquatch, opened for Weezer, and held residencies at home and in London.
Late last year, however, the guys decided it was time to slow down. They've since been holed up in L.A.'s canyon country recording the songs that will make up their debut LP. Inspired by RAC's propulsive dance mix of their angular banger, "Coming Or Going," they challenged the Portland remix geniuses to produce the entire White Arrows album due out this summer. RAC agreed, and the first fruits of their labors come via an April digital EP led by "Get Gone," the kaleidoscopic single that pits Mickey's transcendent croon against a bursting blend of elements both organic and electronic. When all's said and done, you'll be as likely to find White Arrows playing Coachella as Electric Daisy Carnival. In either case, expect to sweat.
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