It was a fortuitous occasion for me during the week I was in New York City, Local Natives were opening up for Blind Pilot at the Bowery Ballroom. They are a band catching a lot of buzz and well deserved at that out of Silver Lake, California. They are definitely living up to their label of one of the hardest working bands, constantly on tour and in full DIY mode. I get more and more excited for their unreleased album, Gorilla Manor every time I hear a new track from them. I found out about the Local Natives on the website, Daytrotter who posts live sessions with indie bands who visit the studio in Rock Island, IL. I was enamored by what I heard, a mix of sounds, emotions and genres in these very personalized songs recounting memories and life in a heart felt manner.
The Bowery Ballroom, a venue with an interesting history seems like a seedy maze in a modern pulp film. The downstairs bar, red tinted intriguing yet confusing where exactly the stage was. Finally unveiled through two back doors, the crowd is herded up another set of stairs and we end up back at street level. The stage was set up with what appeared three bands worth of instruments. The Local Natives were set to play second of a 3-bill show. At 11p, the band nonchalantly walked on stage gear up and began a foot stomping and impressive set of what I hope will be the majority of what their first LP should be. Their friend Amanda Salazar, who occasionally plays violin at live shows, is touring with the band on the east coast leg. At the time I'm still unsure which band member name belonged to which face. I was filled with curiosity to see which sound came from whom. At times instruments and positions were swapped out for certain songs. The Local Natives have a true collaborative approach on their music making process, much like a cross-country road trip each has a turn at the wheel. I do remember at one point, seven instruments being played by six people. The crowd was not disappointed, the band played a strong nine song set list that was not only heart felt but also just downright jamming. Conversation was comedic and light hearted in between songs as peculiar requests from the audience were turned down and we were updated on the misfortune of receiving 3 tickets the previous night from the NYPD.
Ultimately, I was rewarded with getting to hear 4 tracks that I hadn’t heard prior to the show, and bought a kick ass EP to as Taylor put it, “help them get to the next town.” The one downfall I must say was not from the band but the fact their stage time was so limited. It’s a good sign when a show ends and your left wanting to hear more based on the shear fact its great music. To be honest with you, I did consider the unrealistic idea of making the trek up to Wisconsin to peek them out one more time, even in the shotty weather at the time. At last, all I can hope is for a possible future show in Chicago, until then please look forward to an interview I had with Taylor as we countdown the days to an unknown release date of Gorilla Manor. The bandwagon is making regular stops climb aboard!