Local Natives

Brixton Academy, London on Thu 17th Oct 2013

On only their second album Brixton Academy seems almost too big a setting for the LA five piece but they take to the grander headline setting like ducks to water. Kicking proceedings off with 'Breakers' from their latest album 'Hummingbird' a track which perhaps best amplifies their acceptance into the mainstream. There is definitely comparisons to be made with The National, especially on tracks like this with one eye on stadium sized rock but with enough inventiveness and zeal that it never seems middle of the road.

They're already an instant hit with the crowd and 'World News' sees instant crowd participation, it's hard not to enjoy these guys live. They're probably the most harmonious indie rock band around at the moment and that coupled with giant pop hooks and sing-a-long choruses as here, is always going to be a winner.

Local Natives take on the Talking Heads' 'Warning Sign' brings the tempo down a notch, although it bares many of the hallmarks of the original it is given a fresh perspective with the bands harmonies and some musical tinkering giving it their own stamp.

Tracks like 'You and I' and 'Shapeshifter' are soaked in melancholy but both have a meticulous almost mathematical musical accompaniment which ensures these aren’t just your by the number indie for the glum with the latter especially well-suited to a live setting.

The quintet seems to be exactly that, there is no focus on any one member with no one shying away from the mic and a clear sense that these guys love playing with each other. They finish with one of the highlights from their 2010 debut 'Gorilla Manor' – 'Who Knows, Who Cares' which sums up everything that draws you to the band. Taylor Rice and Kelsey Ayer perfectly playing off each other while the rest provide sumptuous vocal harmonies with a perfectly built up track which climaxes to a bit of an anthem, as good a point as any to finish proceedings. I've never felt fully compelled by Local Natives on record but as a live unit the music has much more oomph. There is a clear progression with their new album 'Hummingbird' that I get the sense that there will be a record down the line which will awaken me to the true delights of this band. For now I’m content marvelling at their live offerings.

The band comes on for an encore which includes 'Heavy Feet' and again it's hard not to draw comparisons with The National especially as Aaron Dessner produced the track himself. A song which is tinged with discontent drums, huge anthemic climbs and fractured claps which the crowd duly join in on.

They finish on 'Sunhands' one of the bands more linear moments and dare I even say a crowd pleaser which has the crowd joining in from the start. Though Local Natives had the crowd eating out of their hand from the get go tonight with a palpable sense that they have a special bond with their fans that should see them around for many years to come.

article by: Paul Mullin

published: 21/10/2013 10:20


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