LIVE: Local Natives Perform Secret Show At The Satellite 10/23
By Gianna Hughes on October 24, 2012
It has been nearly two years since Silver Lake's Local Natives performed in Los Angeles. Since their last local performance, there have been a multitude of bands sprouting up and championing the east side of L.A.'s music scene, such as the show openers Superhumanoids, who are fresh off their redicency at The Echo.
However, after leaving last night's secret performance at The Satellite, a friend of mine turned to me and described Local Natives as hometown heroes. And I couldn't agree with him more. Despite the success of many local acts, no band garners a crowd's attention like the three-part harmonies of Kelcey Ayer, Taylor Rice and Ryan Hahn, or the intricate percussion of Matthew Frazier.
Back in 2009, Local Natives performed a month-long residency at The Satellite, which was then known as Spaceland. Following this, they released their break-out debut album, Gorilla Manor. And despite touring the world since then, they haven't left their roots behind. Since this first residency, Local Natives have shown Los Angeles nothing but love and gratitude, whether performing at UCLA or with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. And this was seen once again in the performing of a secret show that sold out in mere minutes at the same venue where it all began.
In fact, frontman Taylor Rice shared that before their set yesterday evening, the five band members went to a basketball court at the nearby Silver Lake Reservoir to warm up their vocals, something they had done each week during their residency. Local Natives are certainly one of L.A.'s residency success stories, along with Silversun Pickups, Best Coast and Active Child. And there they were, several years later, no longer having to prove themselves. Rather, the evening served as a launching point for what will surely be a successful album release and touring cycle.
Each member of the audience had been faster than the rest to purchase tickets, and this proved for a night of attentive listening, eager support, and energetic participation--something Local Natives shows have become known for. And despite performing at CMJ only a week prior, by the end of the band's set, it became clear that this evening was a special one; it may be the last time this band will be able to perform in a venue so small. In fact, they are already slated to perform at the El Rey in January, a theater that holds 770 patrons.
The evening's setlist included mostly new material from Local Natives' upcoming release, Hummingbird. And each song, ranging from the set's opener "Black Spot" to the album's first single "Breakers," proved that not only have Local Natives maintained their affinity for harmonies and distinct percussion patterns, but they are also branching out in terms of ambient experimentation. And although Gorilla Manor saw song after song that was formed organically and suited for energetic sing-a-longs, Hummingbird has harnessed those unique moments of pathos that strike the listener deeply. Time and time again, there were moments throughout the set, especially in "Columbia," a song written after the passing of Kelcey Ayer's mother, where the audience was visibly moved. Even a day later, the performance still resonates within me.
Several songs from Gorilla Manor were performed as well, instantly bringing the devout crowd back to a time when seeing a Local Natives show once a week was never enough. The first from Gorilla Manor was album opener "Wide Eyes," which immediately got the crowd dancing and singing along as loud as they possibly could. And moments like this are why this band is so special to Los Angeles. When was the last time you went to a concert where the crowd was so uninhibited and so unabashedly vocal?
Other favorites included the cover of Talking Heads' "Warning Sign" and "Who Knows Who Cares," which saw the crowd at its most cacophonous moment. The song was a highlight of the set and a moment of pure abandon. Not a single person was in competition with the person next to them. We were all there together, present in the moment; the energy in the room was electric.
Local Natives closed their set with "Bowery," an emotionally and instrumentally-charged hit. During this song, I took a moment to look around, and I do not exaggerate when I say nearly everyone in the room was utterly captivated. It is a song that hits you in the chest. It knocks the wind of out you--not like when you fall down, but when you fall in love. It takes you by surprise and leaves you stunned in awe.
Naturally, the band returned for a three-song encore that ended with "Sun Hands." And after the crowd shouted along and the band members took a moment to look around the room, taking it all in, the audience littered the outside sidewalk, sharing stories and thoughts about the show and where Hummingbird will take Local Natives.
And unlike a hummingbird, with its wings quickly fluttering with urgency, surprising those who are looking closely, Local Natives' career will be anything but fleeting. With the affirmation of such an evocative performance, it is clear that their career is only on the rise. And with songs that resonate so deeply, their inevitable success will be well-deserved and a pleasure to watch.
Local Natives setlist:
1. Black Spot
3. Wide Eyes
4. You and I
6. Warning Sign
7. Heavy Feet
9. Who Knows Who Cares
10. World News
12. Three Months
14. Sun Hands