LA’s Local Natives released two amazing albums to start their career, with 2010’s revolutionary Gorilla Manor and 2013’s stunning Hummingbird. The band has grown their audience behind the two stellar albums and their awe-inspiring live shows, reaching towards the pinnacle of today’s indie world.
In September, the band released their third album, Sunlit Youth via Loma Vista Recordings/Infectious Music, showing a band that’s prepared to stick around for the long haul. Local Natives are slightly more, well happy and upbeat, on their latest album, while giving the band newer options to mix into their live shows around the songs that their audiences have come to expect live.
Touring behind Sunlit Youth, Local Natives came back to Tabernacle in Atlanta on October 12th. The band mixed the set list full of songs off of their albums. The band started the set with the first single off of the new album. “Past Lives”, immediately grabbing the audience as they sung along with the band and danced. Next the band went into one of the singles off of Hummingbird, “You & I” which engulfed the audience completely within the show. Next, the audience blew up with the opening notes of “Wide Eyes” off of their first album. From there, Local Natives continued to mix the set with crowd favorites from the first two albums, such as “Breakers”, “Airplanes”, “Heavy Feet” and “Ceilings,” which was particularly euphoric.
“Columbia” was a definite highlight from the night, a song that is extremely emotional, and starts out very slow and somber as Kelcey Ayer’s vocals shine in. A few audience members took the slow song as a chance to hit the restrooms or catch up to their friend next to them, but as Kelcey and the Local Natives began to soar, the audience couldn’t help but to be absolutely captivated. Conversations were stopped mid-sentence. Soon within the song, the Tabernacle was on fire as the song kept building louder and louder.
While there’s no doubt that the setlist coming from the first two albums were highlights for the crowd, Local Natives only gained momentum with the new songs off of Sunlit Youth. “Villainy”, “Coins” and “Fountain of Youth” were crowd pleasers, and hearing the songs live give even more life to the new album.
Towards the end of Local Natives 17 song set before the encore, the band brought out the multi-talented young opener, Charlotte Day Wilson for the duet “Dark Days”, which is sung by Nina Persson of Swedish band the Cardigans on Sunlit Youth. Charlotte Day Wilson filled in perfectly, sounding like she was meant for the song. She sounded so great that half the audience was convinced it was her on the recording. She is definitely an artist to watch out for.
By the time that the Local Natives were ready to close down the encore and the night, the packed Tabernacle crowd was completely with the band. We all knew what was coming, much like the last time they played this venue, the band closed with “Sun Hands”; which at the time I’d put towards the very top of my favorite close to a show. I’m not sure the second go-round could match the first, but if there has been anything close, the second time is still a charm. There’s just something about this song and the energy the band brings to it. From the big and rhythmic drums, to the soaring guitars and harmonies, till the song builds into a crescendo and everything in it’s path just loses it, “Sun Hands” is still at the heart of the Local Natives. It’s what this band is all about and what makes them so great.
At the top of the list for what makes Local Natives so great is the passion they put into everything they do, I’m not sure these guys know what a bad show is. They will put so much into their performance that an audience has no choice but to join them. If they put in 110% every night, their audience is ready to give it right back to them, and that’s exactly what we got at the Tabernacle that night.
Check out additional photos from the evening by Mike Gerry: