By Matthew Anderson
Occasionally, Baltimore manages to draw an indie giant the likes of Local Natives, saving us from the after work trip to DC and making our charming city a little more hip. In my experience, Baltimore crowds have been notoriously underwhelming, which strains the symbiotic relationship between audience and band that can make a live performance transcendent. Thanks to the unbridled energy of LA’s Local Natives, and a packed house of Baltimore natives, last night was one of those special experiences.
The show kicked off with Jack Tatum’s solo project turned full-fledged band Wild Nothing. The band looks as though they’ve walked right out of Winona Ryder’s bedroom in a 90’s teen angst movie, strapped on instruments and released perfectly dazed dream pop. I’ve been fully immersed in his 2012 release Nocturne, and will remain so despite some shaky sound and technical issues that hindered the flow of their set. Standout song was new EP cut, “Ocean Repeating (Big Eyed Girl),” which shows promising direction for the already up and coming artist.
On to the main event…Local Natives have this egoless, genuine and joyful way of performing that makes one believe they love their job, and they know how lucky they are to have it. They moved through two albums worth of brilliant material, and a Talking Heads cover to boot, like a perfectly executed march that is both practiced and effortless. Vocally, they stand on the level with live acts like Grizzly Bear, with each member contributing lead parts, harmonies and just generally sounding like angels. The band have been on the move for the better part of the year, having already played two sold out shows at the 9:30 Club earlier this year as well as making the festival rounds this summer – and they’re showing no signs of road weariness.
With album of the year contender Hummingbird still ringing in many people’s ears, I expect more great things from this band very soon. Do yourself a favor and go see them!