When I was in seventh grade, and primarily listening to the likes of The Black Keys and The Fray (we all have to start somewhere,) my “cool friend” made me a CD. The first two songs were “Airplanes” and “Cubism Dream,” both from the Local Native’s debut album, Gorilla Manor. Some may compare this discovery to The Enlightenment; it basically kickstarted my fascination with music in general.
As my taste in music developed over the next seven years, so did the Local Natives. These early songs that had hooked me were a slower blend of unadulterated emotion and intricate lyrics: a tale of a late grandfather unfolds in “Airplanes,” while in the other, a skype call is compared to a “Cubism Dream.” Over the years, their music has grown to include a wider range of instruments and a more contemporary sound, which has catapulted them to well-established spot in the indie music scene.
The Local Natives were on the top of my “Must See” concert list, so I was ecstatic in the days leading up to the show. However, there was this underlying sense of nervousness because of the high expectations I had. I think when you like a band for so long, there is almost a pressure for them to live up to the image that has so thoroughly been created in your personal listening experience. I had these memories from seventh grade that needed to be reaffirmed.
The band exploded onto stage in a wave of energy with “Past Lives,” a song off their most recent album, Sunlight Youth. Secondary to their incredible opening sound, I was impressed by the intricate french braid in the lead singer’s hair. Taylor Rice brought his A game. This sophisticated ‘do also proved to be the perfect setup for a dramatic unleashing of his shoulder length curls during the encore.
Beyond appearances, the Local Natives delivered an unbelievable performance. They incorporated songs from all three of their albums, transitioning from the political outcries of “Fountain of Youth,” to a spiritual cover of Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam.” The crowd was with them every step of the way: silent but attentive at times, jubilantly dancing and clapping at others. Of course, they were more than willing to support the surprisingly heavy body of Rice as he jumped into the stage during “Sun Hands.”
As we walked outside after the concluding song, we were greeted with a torrential downpour. This resulted in a hub of people standing outside The Blue Note – strangers reflecting on the genius that was that concert. I think the Local Natives would be extremely happy with this outcome, as their newest album calls for unification above all.
If you ever get the chance to see the Local Natives live, I highly suggest it.