Last night at around 7 pm, I was settled in for a normal night around the house. My band was going to practice for an hour, and after that I anticipated going to bed shortly after. But it was about right before our practice started that I received a call from one of my friends telling me that his girlfriend just scored 3 tickets for the Local Natives show in two hours. We finished our band practice and then I was immediately picked up, off to see one of my favorite acts of the past couple years.
Due to some unavoidable circumstances, we ended up being just a few minutes late for the headliner’s set. I walked in as they were just starting to play the opening track from their new album Hummingbird entitled “You & I.” Immediately I felt the powerful and glorious presence of the bands vocal capabilities. Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer’s harmonies gave a seamlessly beautiful execution of the high melodies in one of their many songs that define their vocal capabilities.
The band kept this good energy going throughout the rest of their set; alternating between new material and songs from their groundbreaking 2009 debut Gorilla Manor. New tracks such as “Ceilings” showcase the evolution their guitar work has gone through over the past couple years that takes on influences from The National and Leonard Cohen. Heartfelt tributes such as this lead to a comforting evocation of lush and warm emotion from both the group and the audience. The band’s undertaking of classic songs such as “Wide Eyes” showcased their distinct ability to change everything we know about traditional tempos and rhythmic notation. Both of these elements combined together made for a very entertaining and unique live performance.
For me, the greatest part of the night was when the last two songs of the encore started. Rising out of ambient and distorted noise from the amplifiers came the soft opening riff of “Who Knows Who Cares”, one of the singles from their debut album. Now any avid music fan can attest to the fact that we all have those certain songs that define particular times in our lives. This is a very important one in my story. I came to Nashville uncertain about what life held in store for me; excited to play music and be immersed in such a cultural boom of a city, but terrified as to whether or not I could handle the change. Staring right into the eyes of an important test of my character and strength I turned to songs like this. The lyrics describe facing change and challenges in life with an attitude that simply sets out to take everything one day at a time: “The current has us now, it’s okay. Take into account that it’s all about to change. Who knows, who cares.”
But what everyone was truly waiting for was the last song of the night, the track that helped this band claim the attention and appreciation they so righteously deserve, “Sun Hands.” The drums kicked in with the soft hits on the rims of the toms, as the guitars and bass rounded out the beginning of this climatic anthem. The dynamics were lightly tossed around until the refrain was repeated softly one last time before it would all change; everyone was ready. Finally the screaming of the chorus started and the distortion blasted as everyone in the crowd gave it all they had in gifting the band with one last dose of immense energy and appreciation for their stop in Music City.