Local Natives @ Mango’s
You ever come across a record that is perfectly suited to your current situation at EXACTLY the right moment in time to maximize its emotional and intellectual impact? If you’re a loyal BoT reader, there’s a good chance that music is so ingrained into your identity that it’s a commonplace occurrence. It’s been a while since something has hit me as hard as Local Natives debut album, Gorilla Manor. Recent events have put me in a place where I’m musically vulnerable, I guess; I’ll avoid wiping my tears on the unknown shoulders of the stranger that’s reading this, and will instead just say “Sun Hands”… check it out. Two other factors combined to make this past Saturday’s show at Mango’s a perfect storm for a peak live music experience: I was coming off the longest period of live music abstinence that I’ve had in at least 2 years, and I was attending the show with a few of my favorite people in Houston – who I’ll be seeing a hell of lot more of from here on out. Onto the show, including video and pictures after the jump.
Words and Video by Zach “Bacon” Vernon
Photos by Jim “Eggs” Bricker
I’ll get the negative part out of the way first: LN are way too big for a venue like Mango’s, and, as you can see from the video below, it was near-impossible to find a good sight line, a cool breeze, or an easy route to another beer once the show started. But the band was tight, most of the crowd was there to see them (not to be seen), and they played everything off the album I love so much. Local Natives sprinkle interesting bits of random influences I dig on top of well-crafted indie rock, made semi-folksy thanks to the vocal harmonies that they execute so well. Those harmonies were what I was most interested to see executed live, and they didn’t disappoint. In terms of sequencing, the show lost a little momentum in the middle with a run of slower songs, sandwiched around the energy of “Camera Talk,” that gave the chatties in the crowd license to annoy. It definitely picked up with the last 3 songs though: “Airplanes”, “Who Knows Who Cares”, and “Sun Hands”.
When you parse from the same 12-song catalog every night, it’s obviously easy to keep things tight, so we’ll see where these guys take it as their repertoire grows… a growth that all of us here at BoT will be waiting for with great anticipation. Here’s hoping they can find a bit of looseness too – maybe Dr. Dog it up a bit and jam shit OUT, they’ve definitely got the chops. Thanks to the person who forced this album on me, you know who you are, and now you know what it’s meant to me. May our musical therapy never stop. To the rest of you jokers, buy this album and go see these guys NOW.
Setlist: World News, Warning Sign, Wide Eyes, Cards & Quarters, Shape Shifter, Stranger Things, Camera Talk, Cubism Dream, Sticky Thread, Airplanes, Who knows Who Cares, Sun Hands
Check out more of Eggs’ shots from the show on Houston Press’ Rocks Off review.