Blog post and photo by esteemed Alive Marketing Coordinator Sean Carter
Five thoughts on the Local Natives show on March 26 at the LC Pavillion.
-Nearly three years ago, I saw Local Natives with a buddy who insisted I check them out. Without hearing a single track beforehand, I became a fan based solely off of the band’s live performance. Soon after, I familiarized myself with Gorilla Manor, and most recently Hummingbird, and have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to see them live again. Tuesday night, Local Natives played to a packed crowd at the LC Pavilion, completing their journey through the Promowest Live minor league system. "Last time we were here, we played in this little basement (it was, in fact, The Basement), and now we're up here playing for all of you … that's pretty cool," said guitarist/vocalist Taylor Rice midway through the band’s 70 minute set.
-I was very anxious to see how the tracks off of Hummingbird would play out. Gorilla Manor has more of an uptempo, chamber-pop feel to it, while Hummingbird flows at a slower pace and is even somber at times. They kicked the show off with Hummingbird opener "You and I,” and it was clear that the new record was meant to be heard live. At any time, you could get a sense of what each part of the five-piece (Local Natives is a four-piece, but had a touring bass player) was doing on stage. It felt like more five separate musicians than it did a collective band, which brought a breath of fresh air to a lot of the new tracks. This was most evident during their performance of "Mt. Washington," an acoustic track off of Hummingbird that could lull a baby to sleep. Every band member dove right in to the song, and picked things up a notch, turning it into one of more upbeat songs they played throughout the set.
-The tracks played off of Gorilla Manor were easily the crowd favorites. While there was an appreciation for the new tracks, I got the sense that everyone wanted to clap their hands and dance, waiting with baited breath for the likes of "Wide Eyes," "Airplanes," and "Sun Hands" (more on this song in a minute), which were all played. I was brought back to when I first saw Local Natives during the Gorilla Manor portions of the show, and I was reminded why this band is special. They seemed more in their element during these performances. Maybe they were feeding off the crowd, maybe those songs are second nature for them at this point. Either way, it is pop/rock music at its best. Catchy and real. Sometimes I wonder why bands like this aren't what we hear on Top-40 radio, but that's a different argument for another day.
-I can't say it enough. This is a band you have to see live to appreciate. No member contributes more than the other. Three of the five members spent the night switching up responsibilities on stage between guitars, acoustics, percussions, vocals and keys. Rice and jack-of-all-trades Kelcey Ayer, tag team vocals with an assist from guitarist Ryan Hahn. The percussion is a popular instrument of choice for "indie" bands these days, but these guys did it right. They didn't sit up there and jimmy jangle around, but rather used it when necessary to add to the tribal-ish feel they’re known for. Bottom line, they are great musicians and are impressive to watch.
-The encore ended with "Sun Hands,” which is up there with one of the best songs I've ever heard live. It's what won me over the first time I saw them, and it was best part of last night’s show. By far their heaviest track, you feel like you are in the middle of some sort of ritual that builds up to the best 10 seconds of the song where the entire bands stops playing their instruments, step away from their mics, and shout, "And when I can feel with my sun hands / I promise not to lose her again," twice before breaking in to a heavy jam session. I thought Rice's skeleton was going to literally jump out of his body as he convulsed with every chord strike from this point to the end of song. Leaving the show, I couldn't help but wonder why they don't write more songs like this, but then it hit me. "Sun Hands" is their anthem, and it should never be messed with. No matter what type of record they write, they will always have those five minutes with their fans that stands above everything else.
-They did not play "Warning Sign," which is a Talking Heads cover that ranks up there with covers that are almost as good as the original song. Kind of bummed about that.
-The bass line from "Wooly Mammoth" is still in my head.
-Standout songs were "You & I," "Wide Eyes," "Mt. Washington,” “Bowery,” and "Sun Hands."
-Why anyone would pay $20+ to talk during a show and drink overpriced beer is beyond me.
-Opener was the cute, guy/girl led, Superhumanoids. They were good I suppose. Look out for them in a Toyota/Apple/Target/etc. commercial soon.
You & I
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