Live Review: Local Natives - 6/5 The Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Mon, 07 Jun 2010 18:59:53
The Bootleg Theater was the undeniably perfect venue to start my pre-Pitchfork trek through the unbearably hip LA music scene – it's less of a club and more of an Illinois barn hastily converted into a makeshift concert space. The wood walls and steel doors bled music out onto the deserted LA sidewalks, making for the most pleasant wait ever had in a will call line.
Upon entering, I felt like I was home. I felt like I was back in central Illinois among friends, having a drink, and checking out the next big local band. The big difference here was that Superhumanoids, the first opener, were significantly better than merely a local band. Their unique interpretation of electronic pop rock forced me to throw my body around without any care as to what my flailing limbs were hitting.
Second act, Marvelous Toy, was solid and energetic, but not as energizing nor as terribly memorable. Their whole set sounded like an Americana-tinged xylophone interpretation of The Walkmen's Bows + Arrows. If nothing else, Marvelous Toy served to cleanse the palate after one superb set in preparation for the next.
Frenchkiss Records' newest darlings, Local Natives, took to the stage quietly and demurely, giving little indication of the fantastic set that was about to come until they suddenly jumpstarted the show with a pulsing yet harmonically deep rendition of "Camera Talk." It was clear from this first song that as soon as they got the chance, they rocked the f*** out, moving as if their bodies had been caught in the throes of a violent bout of seizures.
Even with all the noise coming from the 6+ instruments on stage, Local Natives stayed harmonically precise throughout their set, continually surprising me with their ability to maintain 3 part harmony as they played every instrument at its highest volume.
During hit "Wide Eyes" off debut, Gorilla Manor, all 5 members converged together in the center of the stage and turned their backs on the audience. The snare continued to roll, and the audience went silent, as if we were witnessing a spiritual revelation. Who am I to say that it wasn’t - after this brief pause, the guitars and drums ripped with a renewed energy, a level of energy and volume I once thought impossible to reach.
This show for the Local Natives was a homecoming; they were playing to family and friends at a venue in their hometown too small for anyone but their biggest fans to attend. Given this situation, it was only natural that they would put on a remarkable and earnest performance. During song "Cubism Dream," singer Kelcey Ayer closed his eyes and shouted "I did it for me" with such sincerity as to make your heart skip a beat.
The most poignant part of the show was the moment in which the band expressed their gratitude toward this familiar LA audience, sincerely uttering "It's good to be home."
Well, Local Natives, it's f'ing great to have you back.
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