One of our newest contributors, Greg Caruso was lucky enough to attend the Local Native’s show last week in Los Angeles. Here’s his report:
Without warning the announcement came via Facebook: Local Natives were to return to their alma mater in Silverlake, California. It was a homecoming of sorts for the SoCal quintet. The last time they graced the Satellite stage (then called Spaceland) was for a five night residency in 2009.
From touring the world behind their debut album, Gorilla Manor, to playing with the L.A. Philharmonic, and drawing huge crowds at multiple festival appearances across several continents, the Local Natives came back to their old stomping grounds to showcase not only tracks off their new album, Hummingbird, but to revisit old favorites as well.
Taking the stage just shy of 11pm, LN opened their night up with two new songs, “Bright Spot” and their single, “Breakers”. The swelling opening musical arrangements of both new songs left me curious on why and how this would be the direction they decided to take for their sophomore effort. Without having heard anything other than “Breakers”, these first choice cuts featured all the classic harmonies and sweeping natures of the band, but just didn’t have the balls or the punch of what I was used to. It was really no matter because after all, this was more of a “welcome home” show for the fans. We were all salivating for more.
With a dip into familiar with “Wide Eyes”, it was game on for the rest of the evening. After at least a year of not playing live and being burrowed in the studio, there was no telling that the band hadn’t played live in some time (with the exception of their album announcement show in New York). The heat rose on-stage, and even more so in the now jammed dance floor as the audience started to sing and dance to the songs they knew and loved. Thankfully, co-lead singer Kelcey Ayer asked to turn down some of the lights.
After new song, “Ceilings”, which started reaching more towards the percussive and harmony laden sound that we’re used to, it was announced that the next was a Talking Heads cover. This was the first time of my near dozen Local Natives shows where this was actually announced to the crowd. “Warning Sign” simply demolished.
The band brought it back down into newer territories with “Heavy Feet” & “Colombia”, the former being a song written about the passing of a family member. All of the new songs are extremely thought provoking. They’ve all quite obviously been well thought out with the utmost of care. Sophomore albums are always tricky for a band that hits as hard as they have with their debut. It will be interesting to hear the official cuts. “Bowery”, which closed out the main set, held a particularly poignant moment for us, as it was one of the most well crafted and original sounding of the new batch. All told, the response to the evening was extremely favorable given to how well the crowd was patient and attentive to new tracks, and explosively charged to hearing their favorites.
After a short break, the band came back with new song “Three Months”, and favorites “Airplanes” and “Sun Hands”. To say that the crowd, made up of both lucky local hipsters and L.A. music freaks, went nuts, would be a huge understatement. There were pools of people jumping and screaming out lyrics that would make the front row of a Justin Bieber concert look tame. Shows like this don’t come around too often. Where you simply needed to be at the right place, at the right time…or early as shit. Unbeknownst to me, my own little brother got in line at 3pm in order to get him and his friends into the show. Dedication does live in L.A.. Local Natives have it. Always will.
Stream of “Breakers” :
Local Natives just sold out a January show at the El Rey in under a minute and have added a second show at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. Tickets go on-sale this Friday. It might be your last chance to see this band in an intimate venue before they step up to Coachella-style affairs in the very near future.
Header Image from Brandon Carsuo.
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