Angelenos Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian are perhaps best known for their infectious, if overplayed, single “Safe and Sound.” Having been only vaguely familiar with their debut album and, admittedly, somewhat annoyed by the viral popularity of “Safe and Sound” going into their set at the Life is Beautiful Festival in Vegas last October, I was immediately floored when I made the realization that, holy shit, they were actually really, really good live.
Following my “love at first sight” brush with them in Vegas, I went on a bit of a Capital Cities binge, becoming intimately familiar with their debut release, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, so when I caught wind of their “Two Nights at The Rox(bur)y,” I latched onto that like I was the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.
Due to a ticketing mishap, I entered the bordering-oversold Roxy later than I had intended and missed the openers. That did, however, mean the sweet opening bleepy bloops of “Kangaroo Court” came after very little wait on my part. Since Capital Cities stuck mostly to the same set that had enchanted me the first time I had seen them, the performance was a little more predictable this time around, right down to the covers of “Stayin’ Alive” and “Undone – The Sweater Song.”
Still, their set wasn’t any less fun. “Farrah Fawcett Hair” was just as delightfully ridiculous this time around, and “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo” garnered an even more appreciative response in the context of a solo set. A sea of iPhones illuminated the venue during “Safe And Sound,” though I preferred the Cash Cash remix of the track that they closed out with. Following the live portion of the set, we were treated to a DJ set by the duo, which consisted mostly of dancey indie pop/rock tunes.
It goes without saying but Capital Cities puts on a superb live show. They are so much more than “Safe And Sound,” and while they probably won’t be inducing life-altering epiphanies with their lyrics, anyone who can appreciate an energetic, fun time will feel right at home at one of their sets. For those of you lucky enough to be hitting either of the two weekends of Coachella, I highly recommend checking them out.
For more info: