Last night I went up to the Beachland Ballroom to see Local Natives and Suckers, who are both on Frenchkiss Records. Local Natives started out the night early, playing a brief in store (4 songs, I think?) at Music Saves prior to the show, but I missed out on that because I was over at Blue Arrow Records helping them get some things ready for next Saturday’s Waterloo Feral Cat Project Benefit. But, I heard that the in-store was well attended (around 60 people, which is a lot to cram into Music Saves!) & when I showed up there were still plenty of people milling around (including the band.)
I actually hadn’t really planned on attending the Local Natives show. I listened to their album once a month or so ago and it didn’t really catch me, but Drew and I were offered the opportunity to go for free, so we thought, “Why not?” &, on the whole, it was a decent decision (aside from the relatively minor setback of missing Lost and having our DVR cut off the last 15 minutes because the broadcast was delayed due to a “weather emergency.” ANYWAY.)
A little while ago (maybe a week? a month? longer?) I was listening to stonecoldbikini on WRUW and Christine described a band (I can’t remember what band — if only I had known that this information would become semi-critical to a blog entry in my near future) as “forest rock” and then went on to vaguely elaborate by saying, “you know, dudes with beards harmonizing” (or something to that effect.) Which is pretty spot on for Local Natives (though they’re more accurately described as mustachioed (as opposed to bearded.)
ANYWAY — they certainly aren’t bad, it’s just that the whole “dudes with beards harmonizing/forest rock” thing isn’t something that I’ve really developed a taste for yet. But, I think that in a lot of cases, it can be nice to go into a show with no real expectations. So that’s what I did & here’s what I found:
The Local Natives; live show definitely kept my attention in a way that their record didn’t. They played a great, brief set (somewhere around 40 minutes, which was just right for me) & surprised me with a cover of “Warning Sign” by Talking Heads (which likely would have been less of a surprise if I had read CLE music blogger Erin’s interview with the band over on her blog Dust Sleeve.) The Ballroom was pretty packed, which was great to see, & the crowd clearly had favorite tunes that they were waiting to hear (the band did an awesome job pacing these songs throughout their set, so when it seemed that the crowd’s attention was beginning to wander, they were pulled back in.)
The opening band, Frenchkiss label-mates Suckers, was also a pleasant surprise. They had a vaguely Animal Collective-ish sound (which is invariably my go to descriptor for almost anything that involves the combo of guitars, electronics, and yelping) & by the end of their set it seemed like they had really won the crowd over.
Local Natives and Suckers are midway through their tour. You can view remaining tour dates & sample songs on their MySpace (a handful of the remaining tour dates are already sold out, so if they’re coming to your town & you want to be there, you may want to consider buying tickets in advance.)