Published May 31, 2010The blogosphere was in a frenzy over L.A.-based indie rock quintet Local Natives well before they dropped their debut album, Gorilla Manor, in February, so it's no surprise that the band's show at Vancouver's Venue was near capacity.
What was surprising, was just how much the group ended up earning the hype after a blandly repetitive start with "Camera Talk" and "Wide Eyes." Soon they busted out the crowd-pleasing "Cards and Quarters," finding solid footing before launching into the brilliant "Shapeshifter," the most beautifully nuanced song to feature the group's storied harmonies, perfectly balanced with the driving beat of the dual drums. Each Local Natives song features sublime vocal harmonies, and the comparisons to Fleet Foxes are justified, but only if those chamber folkies had received a shot of adrenaline to the heart.
The 12-song set (including encore) just kept gaining momentum, peaking during the third-to-last number, the raucous "Airplanes," a great melding of vulnerability and aggression that had as many men as women in the audience joining in on the chorus, singing "I want you back" over and over again.
To be fair, the beginning of Local Natives' set might have seemed lacking simply because opening band Suckers were so damned good. Less polished than the Natives, but no less engaging, partly in thanks to their stellar bassist/trumpeter, it wouldn't be crazy to imagine the indie-minded Brooklynites slipping into the headlining spot soon when their debut album Wild Smile hits in June.