Photo by Robert Cross
“We didn’t know we were going to have an audience at all,” joked Local Natives’ Taylor Rice during their packed KUTX live set at the Four Seasons. But for the past few years, the Southern California group has continued to attract fans from all across the spectrum. Their 2009 debut, Gorilla Manor, came right as harmony-soaked bands like Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, and Animal Collective reached their respective peaks, and Local Natives slotted in perfectly alongside. Natives’ songs are propelled by intricate vocal parts, and with every musician taking a turn at the mic, there is no traditional frontman. They’re about as democratic group as you can find.
And on this year’s Hummingbird, that approach works especially to their advantage. You can hear each member’s individual input, be it a perfectly-timed harmony or a pounding polyrhythm. The record has been hailed as one of the year’s best, thanks to its lived-in sound and arena-ready songs. Local Natives have spent the better part of the last four years on the road, and in that time-frame they’ve become a must-see live act. The record-setting crowd at the Four Seasons was evidence of that.
The group showed off their intricate interplay with ease, highlighting songs from Hummingbird with new colors. That album’s standout track, “Breakers,” also proved to be particularly dynamic in the live setting. With a stripped-down set up, it was no less propulsive. As if they haven’t already, Local Natives will have to get used to growing crowds for years to come.
You can catch Local Natives at ACL Fest 2013:
Fri, Oct 11 4:30-5:30 PM at the Samsung Galaxy Stage