- The Junction 1, Cambridge 1/7/14

The first thing I notice tonight is that there are lots of really young people here. The benefit of this is that they are also really short so I have a great view of the stage and support band, London-based quartet, Sons and Lovers, who also look really young, the lead singer at least thirteen. The plus one says that he is the most un-frontman frontman he’s ever seen. I guess that by this he means that he looks a bit awkward. We disagreed on this. Though he does have foppish hair, his performance consisting of lots of exaggerated hand gestures and pointing and an equally as exaggerated British accent, Sons and Lovers were nevertheless harmlessly enjoyable. With a set of mostly anthemic and romantic tunes, such as recent single ‘Ghosts’ and other tracks about setting hearts on fire, they err on the side of what’s popular at the moment in the UK music scene, with remnants of Bastille in the drumming style and the 1975 for the rest of it. The plus one slated them for their over-use of delay and did a great impression of them afterwards but on the whole they appear to be warming up the audience, which is the main thing, though at the time I thought they were catchy and I don’t remember them now.

Despite the fact that I am, of course, already aware of New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous, they have been super-hyped to me by some of the Cambridge music glitterati before they come on stage. They changed lives last time they came to The Junction apparently, because they fuse rock and pop in a way that inspires and delights even the most stalwart of metal fans. Spanning genres is definitely what they do best, this is true. In a week where Kasabian have been accused of becoming a tub-thumping parody of themselves, the Naked and Famous are amongst the bands who are asking ‘doesn’t anyone want to have fun anymore?’ The answer tonight is definitely ‘yes’.
Opening with ‘A stillness’, an energetic track that sees founding member, guitarist and vocalist, Thom Powers, flicking his hair more times than you can say ‘you need more brillo cream on that?’, theirs is a tight set, well-rehearsed and including muchos opportunities to sing along (‘Rolling waves’) and move (er, most of the other tracks, such as ‘Girls like you’, ‘Punching in a dream’ and new single ‘I kill giants’). An epic lightshow makes their music seem even more extraordinary, dancing off singer Alisa Xayalith and her now-bleached crop as she gets friendly with the audience and they all completely worship her in return. By the time their best known song ‘Young blood’ completes their show in a perfect feel-good punch to the air, the crowd can hardly believe it’s over as they jump, clap and scream for more from the band that know better than most how to write a good chorus. The plus one said that The Naked and Famous are a modern day Roxette. Well, if this is the new ‘joyride’ then ‘it must have been love’. Sorry.

Words and pix by Anna C