"Past Lives" is probably the best song Local Natives
could have opened their set with. Frontman Taylor Rice bounced wildly around the stage as he sang pleadingly and struck his guitar. He also reeked of west coast vibes as he rocked a man bun and matte black poncho. Co-frontman, Kelcey Ayer, harmonized with Rice and passionately played the keys. The band chanted together, playing the song as if it was their last chance to ever play it again. And with just that first song alone, they managed to set the tone for the rest of the night.
The group played a fair amount of songs off of their new record, Sunlit Youth,
including "Psycho Lovers," "Fountain of Youth," which was accompanied by an inspiring political dialogue, "Villainy," and more. A highlight was the foot-stomper "Coins," where Ayer really got to show off his vocal chords. He wailed "Time stands still and then one day it's gone / Where did it go? Where did I go?"
and the crowd cheered back, reassuring him that he is most definitely not alone when he thinks about growing up. For "Dark Days," the band brought out Charlotte Day Wilson, the Canadian R&B singer-songwriter who opened for them. Their voices blended together well and it added to the whole "family feel" of the band. Throughout the set, all of the members switched up instruments every couple of songs. To watch a band full of multi-instrumentalists with the ability to switch roles made it feel more like a collaborative performance. It felt like a family. Everyone pitched in and it was admirable.
The LA group also played a lot of older songs. Before diving into "Airplanes" off of 2010's Gorilla Manor,
they talked about how they've been staying in New York for the last couple of days and because of where they are staying, they passed the venue Pianos a lot. They went on to say that whenever they passed the venue, they'd flashback to their first gig there in 2009 when they were excited to have gotten forty people to show up, and now they're at Terminal 5. Later, before leaving the stage, they played "Who Knows, Who Cares," and the entire crowd freaked out. It brought on some seriously heavy nostalgia yet light, carefree airiness, as the crowd reminisced together and completely let go of everything in the moment. And to make the night even better, the band also confirmed that they had partnered with Plus 1 so that one dollar from each ticket was donated to fight against gender-based violence and sexual assault.
Overall, Local Natives not only brought high energy (which is much needed on a Tuesday night) but they also brought a positive energy. As soon as they started playing their music, everyone shut up and listened, taking it all in. Even if you had come to the show in a sore mood, there's no doubt that Local Natives would have been able to pacify, simply with the power of their anthemic tunes and enthusiastic attitude.
We also caught the opening act Charlotte Day Wilson, which you can check out below.
Charlotte Day Wilson