Dreamy synths and infectious rhythms echoed across the walls of The Riviera Theatre in Chicago when XYLØ and The Naked and Famous – along with The Chain Gang of 1974 who kicked-off the show – performed transformative sets on Sunday, Nov. 6. With the stress of Election Day looming, it was a welcome opportunity to shut out the noise of the 24-hour news cycle, get swept up in the music and just dance.
The show marked the first time XYLØ performed in The Windy City, a fact that front woman Paige Duddy announced moments before her smoky vocals hypnotized fans with the heartbreaking relationship song “Dead End Love.” The defiant “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” followed, with Chase Duddy favoring the electronic elements of his drum kit to create an intriguing hyper-snare rhythm on which his sister layered a delicate melody.
A fire in Paige ignited while singing of discontent on “L.A. Love Song.” Seductively strutting across the rim of the stage, she bravely exposed her wounded heart while revealing the resilient nature of a powerful woman. XYLØ never spoke of anything overtly political during their set, but “Fool’s Paradise” – on which Paige sings, “Turn off the TV, your suit and tie and hair all wrong/I had a bad dream, your face was on a dollar bill” before pleading, “Lift me up over the wall” – was enough to let fans know the group’s belief that we are in fact “Stronger Together.” For a duo that has yet to release a full-length studio album, XYLØ already promises to be a favorite on the festival scene next summer.
Much of The Naked and Famous‘ headlining set was comprised of gorgeous songs off their latest album “Simple Forms.” Alisa Xayalith’s ethereal, otherworldly vocals soared on “Higher” early in the show, while Thom Powers took the lead on the ode to disintegrating love, “My Energy.” Throughout the performance, interesting lighting designs – including sweeping beams and stark rotating spotlights – enhanced the transcendental auditory experience.
Gliding across the stage like a modern-day disco queen, Xayalith (above) exuded pure happiness on the up-tempo track, “Last Forever.” Carefully considered moments of silence enhanced the all-encompassing measures that soon followed. Each break allowed fans to observe the performance with reflective appreciation before all thoughts were swept away with the next freeing song. “Laid Low,” “Girls Like You” and the fan favorite, “Punching In A Dream,” were also highlights of the magical night.
By simultaneously hitting all the right notes of 1980s nostalgia while offering a glimpse at what’s to come, The Naked and Famous are creating a musical escape that sweeps fans into a realm of beauty that is simply beyond words. The night reached a joyous pinnacle as “Young Blood” sparked a venue-wide dance party that brought heaven down to earth.
XYLØ, The Naked and Famous and The Chain Gang of 1974 will continue to present their synth-pop utopia across the U.S. through the end of the month. Check out photos from their Chicago show above and follow XYLØ on Facebook to keep up-to-date with their latest news.