Music Box @ Fonda - Sept. 17, 2010
Los Angeles’ Local Natives seemingly truncated what’s normally an extensive, pathologically brutal road to success. The brief history of Local Natives doesn’t yet give rise to journalist lore. Let’s hope they can bypass the tragedy that mars, then makes stars from rockers. For us, it seems like just a few months ago this all front-man group started to really bubble on the music circuit. Though we know that music achievement is never, ever that easy, it’s fun to pretend Local Natives just dropped from the sky, hit the pavement, and kept running. And then, several international and domestic tours later, they ran home.
On Friday, September 17, 2010, the Fonda welcomed the local lovers of LA (in-between song rumblings, at least one of the member promises his death here) for the first of two sold out shows at the historic Hollywood venue. Packed to the hilt, fans and family sang and clapped along to nearly every word of the twelve-song set (all of which you can hear on thelocalnatives.com). Bodies danced and made the floor rumble for the always-impressive harmonies and multi-instrument talents for which these guys are so well known. A stage sparsely decorated with only instruments gave way to the youth and vigor of the hottest thing to come out of LA in an age.
A Local Natives show, this one included, isn’t just fun fun fun, it’s cathartic in that sing-out-loud-and-don’t-give-a-f- kind of way. Every fan at these shows sings like they’re in their car in 110 rush hour traffic, like they’re not going to get busted in the shower, like it’s cool to be off-key and maybe miss a word here and there. The way Kelsey and Taylor draw out wind-y, spiraling lyrics inspires even the most atheist of us to raise up our hands to the gods. The way Matt pounds the skins and the way Ryan and Andy round out the super-tuned harmonies is a beautiful thing. Each builds on each other but they do it without cue. They amble across stage and play each other’s instruments and they switch places and some sing and some don’t then they all sing together again. There isn’t another band at the moment on the scene that feels quite this unified.
Highlights are many but fan favorites were “Wide Eyes,” a percussion heavy eerie ghostly jam that got the house clapping and stomping, and “Airplanes,” which plays up their sweeter side. The boys belt out “I Want You Back” and we sing with them sharing that loss we all know. This writer’s favorite of the night, though, was “Shapeshifter,” and not just because it inspired a serious makeout session in front of me. This song, like “Sun Hands” that was played at the encore, is quintessential Local Natives – varied between fast and slow, loud and quiet, soft and hard, and heavily reliant on each to sing like singing might go out of style any minute.
Local Natives waxed poetic at their hometown return and promised to come back soon. The audience at the Fonda this night certainly would be there waiting.