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April 19th, The Fillmore Charlotte

For someone who lives in a fairly dry area for live music, I’ve been extremely lucky to have seen Local Natives twice in the past eight months.  The first was at a festival in September, and the second last Saturday.

(I have to start out by saying that their gigs never, ever disappoint. Local Natives megafan? You’ll love it. Dragged to their show by a friend, thinking that they were a tribe of hippies until you found out they were an actual band? You’ll be in for a great surprise.)

The Fillmore, Charlotte’s most prominent music venue, was packed when I arrived. The show wasn’t quite sold out but an impressive number of fans had crawled out of the woodwork, braving the wind and rain. The crowd was calm and well-behaved, which was nice, seeing as the last gig I went to I got shoved into a mosh pit. There was still an air of excitement, though, and a definite sense of anticipation. It was one of the better atmospheres I’ve experienced during a gig.

Opener Moses Sumney did an excellent job setting the stage. “I’m here to get you emotionally raw so you can really just go to your special place when Local Natives go on,” he joked after finishing his first song, an intricate number involving voice and guitar loops which transitioned into a tender acoustic. He was very good musically, and definitely had a talent for working the crowd, encouraging everyone to clap and sing along. He was also very humble, thanking the crowd for “applauding instead of booing and throwing fruit.” Everyone around me seemed to thoroughly enjoy his performance. I certainly did (though I wished he would have played more songs from his debut EP.)

The night only got better from there. Local Natives made their way onto the stage surrounded in fog while atmospheric entrance music played in the distance. They launched into ‘Breakers’ and the room erupted. Seriously. Even the Cool Bro in fron of me, in his late 20s and a plaid flannel baseball cap, starting swaying.

The best part of the show was the energy. Guitarist/vocalist Taylor Rice (a.k.a. the one with the sick mustache) is so much fun to watch- I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone rock so hard, not even No Age. Vocalist/keyboardist Kelcey Ayer had a great stage presence as well; I don’t think he stopped smiling once.

They continued through various songs from their two releases plus an unusual cover- Johnny Cash. I can’t remember which song of his they covered for this life of me, but I can say it included a sample of an audio recording plugged into Ayer’s keyboard. “Johnny Cash’s son emailed us when he found Johnny’s box of unreleased records, and we got to listen to them before they were released not too long ago,” Rice explained.

The best surprise, however, came in an announcement from Ayer. Local Natives are to begin recording their third studio album in the coming month! Also, for my fellow North Carolinians, a return visit to Charlotte on the next Local Natives US tour has been publicly guaranteed- I’m holding you to that, guys.)

Local Natives put on a truly great show. You can bet I’ll be buying a ticket to their next Charlotte show the minute it goes on sale, and I definitely encourage you anyone to go and see them the next time they play near you.

(And if you don’t want to take my word for how great the gig was, in the words of a girl standing next to me, “THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED. EVER.”)

 

-JC

 

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