@ZackTeibloom Unless you’re at Phish festival 8, it’s rare to hear an acoustic and regular set by a band in the same day. Local Natives packed Waterloo like no in-store show I’ve seen this year and sold out Antone’s after having been moved there from Emo’s to accommodate the demand to see them.
That’s what eight SXSW shows will bring you. They live up to the hype every time. I literally ran into Coachella last Sunday, leaving my friends in the parking lot, and booked it across the grounds so I could catch the last half of the LA band’s homecoming set. Austin can’t get enough of my favorite new band of 2010 either. Local Natives was the toast of SXSW and proved why they needed two shows and a bigger venue Friday, as they swept the day-night double header.
Local Natives were 45 minutes late to start their Waterloo set, but who’s going to complain about a free show with free beer? I chose to spend the time doing a little grocery shopping at Whole Foods and have some free wine samples. When I got back, the place was packed.
I was curious to hear how they’d sound with an all acoustic set and it was just gorgeous. They delivered a 5-song set heavy on harmonies and didn’t attempt their barn burner of a single “Sun Hands.” You’d need to come to the sold-out Antone’s show for that.
“Is anyone coming to the show tonight?” They asked after a cover of “Warning Sign” that they do so masterfully. A hearty “Woo” came up from the crowd. There were times I enjoyed the acoustic set more than the night show. The way they can rely on their voices, the light drumming and strumming. They played “Wide Eyes” and The Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign” at both shows. I couldn’t tell you which I loved more, but there was something especially appealing about the loud sing-a-longs at Antone’s. And “Sun Hands” is a monster.
@AndyLanger tweeted: “Local Natives covering Talking Heads, still managing to sound like a slightly more perky Fleet Foxes.” I agree, and hope they become as successful as them. Local Natives sounded even more like those Fleet Foxes at the acoustic show. It’s the harmonies that sound like falsetto, but are their natural voices. The hard to place “indie-rock” sound. The facial hair.
Antone’s was crowded, but comfortable enough to get drinks and get back to your spot without having to shove. I’ve said it before recently, but there’s something special about a band with one album playing all their songs and saving their single for a one-song encore and doing it perfectly. You know exactly what you’re getting, but they pull it off so well, you don’t care that it’s your fourth show in the last month.
Local Natives were scant on banter, and don’t have a clear leader in the band, but they deliver a spot-on show every single time. Your attention often strays to the guy who wears the same goofy hat every show, but they all take turns on vocals, and all kill it. They’ve sold out most of the rest of their tour. I can’t wait to see where they go from here. Much like their facial hair, they’re wonderful already, with room to grow.
I gave up an afternoon nap to see them despite the late start at Waterloo and they didn’t end until close to 1 am and I had to work at 6 that next morning, but it was entirely worth it. I’ll end with a quote from one of their songs: “Does the city have a curfew? You know it’s good to see you, too.”
Photos by Mary Rehak of http://shutter-noise.com/