Outdoor summer shows may be winding to a close in the coming weeks, but the beach front at Governors Island is still heating up. Saturday night, Local Natives played to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd - their largest yet, according to one of the members. Young Man and We Barbarians were also on the bill.
With bigger names like Grizzly Bear (still to come) at Governors Island this summer, it's impressive that a young band like Local Natives not only earned a coveted spot as a headlining artist but also managed to sell out the huge Governors Island Beach space (3,500 capacity). After all, they only have one album to their name so far. But the LA group didn't let the occasion intimidate them. There were high spirits all around. Each member received a warm round of applause from the audience simply upon walking on stage to set up gear.
"Hello. How are you guys doing tonight?" vocalist/guitar player Taylor Rice offered by way of introduction. They launched into the slowly building tune "World News." Then, after performing a Talking Heads cover ("Warning Sign"), they stopped for a minute to address the crowd again. "Now we're a band from Los Angeles, but this is by far the biggest show we've ever played [...] we're very happy to be here."
Local Natives boasts multiple talented vocalists as evidenced by their penchant for three-part harmonies. But the group shares more than just vocal responsibilities. They often switch instruments between songs, effectively turning the stage into a game of musical chairs. Over the course of their set, the bass player, keyboardist, and second guitar player all took turns bashing on drums.
Mimicking previous shows, a number of people lined up at the exit before Local Natives had stopped playing, but instead of turning to face the gate, many people had turned sideways to get a better look at the stage. Some were even dancing in line.
After playing all but a couple of songs on Gorilla Manor, Local Natives momentarily vacated the stage, but returned after chants of "one more song" permeated the air. They concluded with a single-song encore ("Sun Hands") before officially calling it a night. The remaining people in the pit enthusiastically responded to the bonus track with hands raised, and the crowd's energy seemed to propel the band. Rice was thrashing on guitar and at this point, three members assumed drumming responsibility. At the conclusion of their triumphant set, bass player Andy Hamm whipped out a digital camera and snapped a photo of the cheering crowd to commemorate the occasion.
Like the two bands that played before them, there was certainly nothing offensive about Local Natives set. At their best, they make truly incandescent music, and all of the performers are competent and enthusiastic musicians. But in many ways, Local Natives seem to embody a safe brand of indie rock music that may cause them to ultimately get lost in the shuffle of talented (but often interchangeable) new bands.
Decide for yourselves if you haven't yet. Local Natives return to New York at the end of October to play at Webster Hall (October 29th to be exact). The Ruby Suns and Union Line open the show. Tickets are on AmEx presale now.
The NYC show is part of a larger tour the LA band is going on with The Union Line. That tour starts with The Love Language along for the trip (not the first time they shared a bill with Local Natives). The Ruby Suns replace the Love Language after ACL and continue on the road until Webster Hall. All dates and more Governors Island pics and the setlist and a video from the encore, below....
Local Natives -"Sun Hands" (encore at Governor's Island, NY - August 7
Local Natives Governors Island set list
Warning Side (Talking Heads cover)
Cards & Quarters
Who Knows Who Cares
Local Natives - 2010 Tour Dates
Aug 11 - Pantiero Festival Cannes, FR
Aug 12 - Haldern Festival Haldern, DE
Aug 13 - Way Out West Festival Gothenburg, SE
Aug 14 - Oya Festival Oslo, NO
Aug 15 - Summer Sundae Weekender Leicester, GB
Aug 19 - For Noise Festival Pully, SWITZERLAND
Aug 20 - Pukkelpop Hasselt-Kiewit, BE
Aug 27 - Open Air Festival Zurich, SWITZERLAND
Aug 28 - Leeds Festival Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 29 - Reading Festival Reading, UNITED KINGDOM
Sep 17 - SOLD OUT Henry Fonda Theater ** Los Angeles, CA
Sep 18 - Henry Fonda Theater ** Hollywood, CA
Sep 19 - Belly Up Tavern ** Solana Beach, CA
Sep 20 - SOHO Music Club ** Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 22 - Fillmore ** San Francisco, CA
Sep 24 - Showbox at the Market ** Seattle, WA
Sep 25 - Wonder Ballroom ** Portland, OR
Sep 28 - Fox Theater ** Boulder, CO
Sep 30 - The Waiting Room ** Omaha, Nebraska
Oct 1 - First Avenue ** Minneapolis, MN
Oct 2 - Metro ** Chicago, IL
Oct 3 - The Blue Note ** Columbia, MO
Oct 5 - Academy of Contemporary Music ** Oklahoma City, OK
Oct 6 - House Of Blues ** Dallas, Texas
Oct 7 - House of Blues ** Houston, TX
Oct 9 - Austin City Limits Austin, TX
Oct 11 - Tulane University LBC Quad * New Orleans, LA
Oct 13 - Work Play Soundstage * Birmingham, AL
Oct 14 - Cannery Ballroom * Nashville, TN
Oct 15 - The Masquarade - Heaven Stage * Atlanta, Georgia
Oct 16 - Grey Eagle Tavern and Music Hall * Asheville, North Caro
Oct 19 - Mod Club * Toronto, ON
Oct 20 - La Tulipe * Montreal, Quebec
Oct 23 - Paradise Rock Club * Boston, MA
Oct 27 - Trocadero * Philadelphia, PA
Oct 28 - 9:30 Club * Washington, DC
Oct 29 - Webster Hall * New York, NY
Nov 12 - Club Academy Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 13 - King Tut's Glasgow, Scotland, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 14 - Constellations Festival Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 15 - Whelans Dublin, IRELAND
Nov 17 - Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 17 - Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 18 - Thekla Bristol, United Kingdom
Nov 23 - Forum London, UNITED KINGDOM
** w/ The Love Language and The Union Line
* w/ Ruby Suns and The Union Line