Los Angeles indie rockers Local Natives hosted one of the most compelling and powerful show I’ve witnessed. It’s no wonder so many of the artists AMBY works with have noted the band as influential; the night was exploding with talent. Before the show, I had the opportunity of sitting down backstage with Local Natives’ Taylor Rice and Matt Frazier! Have a look at our interview where we talk about the video for Ceilings, a fear of elevators, tour highlights, and their artwork.
It was the band’s first time touring Hummingbird in Toronto, and you would have never guessed it, for the performance was flawless. Local Natives opened with Breakers—a song off Hummingbird. The track felt far more powerful live than on the record, and just as the loud intro broke into the first verse, their warm harmonies filled the room. When it comes to Local Natives and harmonies, the results are purely effortless. I knew that the band had some tricks up their sleeves when it comes to vocals and their live performance, but I never expected the sheer amount of gorgeous and crisp constant harmonies shown throughout the night.
I remember listening to Gorilla Manor for the first time, and one of the elements of the record that stood out was Local Natives’ beautifully crafted and distinguished guitar sound, combined with those spiralling harmonies. Hearing those elements come to life live was an incredible experience, especially because of how quintessential these elements are to their sound.
In our interview, Matt mentioned that his favourite song to play live is Wide Eyes. The band played it third in the set, and as soon as that signature ringing guitar began, the crowd went nuts. This song embodies everything about the band; from the tropical-esque middle eight, tapping on the drum rims, to the vibrant guitar, to the throbbing bass, and (of course) the irresistible vocals.
The fifth song in the set was the heart-warming and aerial Ceilings. This was followed by their single You & I, Black Balloons, Shapeshifter, Black Spot, and then Camera Talk. Camera Talk was one of those Local Natives songs that always stood out; not only was it a single, but Camera Talk’s chorus is packed with full-bodied harmonies, and the song is lyrically stunning. The vocals kicked in with, “we’re running through the aisles, of the churches still in style. Does this city have a curfew?” As I looked around at fellow music-lovers, it was brilliant to see everyone singing along with the band. And to answer Local Natives’ question, Toronto definitely did not have a curfew that night.
Something to admire about Local Natives is how humble they are during the set. Throughout the night, the band sent out song dedications and told stories to the audience—one being rather funny. Before the show someone in line gave Taylor a cupcake. Their tour manager said not to eat but, yet he did anyway. Taylor then asked the guy in the crowd, “Did you drug it? Because [if you did] the last song of the set is going to be really good for me.”
After this, the band then broke into Airplanes, Mt. Washington, Wooly Mammoth, Bowery, and an acoustic version of Who Knows, Who Cares. The acoustic take on their elegant song showcased Local Natives’ lush voices and expert playing. It was pure ear candy. It was moments like this of that night where you could simply close your eyes and listen to the genius exhumed from the band. Shortly after their last song, the band came out for the encore. The first song of their encore was the heartfelt Colombia, then Heavy Feet, and the finale—Sun Hands.
The on-stage quintet played a brilliant mix of song off their debut record Gorilla Manor and latest album Hummingbird. Between a Talking Heads cover (Warning Sign), acoustic track (Who Knows, Who Cares), and intimate moments of vocal harmony, there’s no way anyone in that crowd could have gone home disappointed that evening.
For concert photos of Local Natives and Wild Nothing, click here.
Alicia Atout |