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REVIEW: Local Natives

By Rob Waters

Posted on Monday 14th November 2016 at 14:01

REVIEW: Local Natives at Manchester Academy (08/11/16) by Rob Waters.

Indie-Rock Quintet Local Natives were neither Local, nor Native… but they were good.  This gig saw them wrap up their UK tour, after gracing several other cities with their fresh, hyperactive presence.

‘Past Lives’ offered up an explosive opening, following the recognisably soft intro which garnered huge applause from the crowd.  ‘Villainy’ - another song from the band’s most recent record ‘Sunlit Youth’ - gave a nicely textured musical backdrop to the crooning vocals.

Several songs saw the band swap instruments, showing off their musical prowess and flexibility.  These short breaks allowed frontman Taylor Rice to address the audience, at one point dipping into a quasi-political rally, in anticipation of the presidential elections back in their homeland.  This spring-boarded nicely into ‘Fountain of Youth’ telling us powerfully that “we can do whatever we want.”

The plucky guitar, tribal-like drumming and fast-pulsing lights helped keep the electric atmosphere sustained throughout the gig.  In fact, much of the night felt like an advert for frolicking around the city with my pals before starting my freshman year of college, dude.

A more nuanced and ‘grown-up’ vibe could be found in ‘Coins’, with its bluesy and soulful melody calming the crowd down a little.  In fact, these more reflective songs are where this band really comes alive, each instrument having their say, creating an interesting musical dialogue.

‘Who Knows Who Cares’ further proved this, with some beautiful harmonies, punctuated by the sporadically hyper-active drums.  This song prompted a lot of interaction from the crowd, eager to sing along.

Local Natives have a lot of energy, and you could tell they were happy to be there – thanking the crowd at every opportunity.  Chants from the fans brought the band back to the stage for an encore, where they closed the set with just as much vivacity as when they opened.

And if you missed this gig, don’t worry, they promised they’d be back in the UK soon, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for sure. 

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