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Arts and Entertainment

Local Natives, The Love Language @ The Music Box at Henry Fonda Theater 09/17/10

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In the sea of could-be’s, would-have’s, and maybe’s that is Los Angeles, it seems an impossible feat for any young upstarts to crawl out of the catacombs of the over-saturated music scene here in LA. Local Natives have climbed to the upper tiers of indie-dom and done just that; they are a rare example of what it means to truly succeed in this town. With this newfound success, they relish it and take no chances.

This past Friday, they kicked off their fall tour with the Love Language and the Union Line in the first of two sold-out shows at the Henry Fonda Music Box. The band, dressed in simple garb and sporting the admittedly tired mid-20’s hipster facial hair, gave a rousing performance to the receptive and adoring crowd. Surrounded by a deep layer of smoke magnified by the blue stage lights, the silhouetted quintet opened with “Camera Talk” with an immediately domineering presence, both visually and aurally. Playing with a stark intensity and precise musicianship, Local Natives are able to teeter on the line in between maintaining a frenetic stage presence while executing a stable and clear musical direction. Their strength, however, lies not within their instruments, but in their voices. The three and four-part reverb-soaked vocal harmonies, executed with near perfect pitch, serve as the backbone and most unifying aspect of the each song.

Perhaps the most important aspect worth noting is how much their live act directly correlates with 2010's Gorilla Manor. The album never strays far from their central point of vocal harmonies, hyperactive percussion, and moody guitars, and is rather succinct in that way. What it sacrifices, however, is the many bells and whistles that go into the publication of a record but never make it to the stage. Local Natives are the antithesis of this, because the poignancy and concision of the record is simply a reflection of a tried and true, no-frills, rock band.

High points of the set include their inconspicuous cover of Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign”, jovial foot-stomper “Airplanes”, and closing number “Sun Hands”.

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Set List

Camera Talk

World News

Warning Sign

Cards and Quarters

Sticky Thread

Wide Eyes

Shape Shifter

Cubism Dream


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Who Knows, Who Cares


Stranger Things

Sun Hands

Words by James Thomer.

Photos by Graeme Flegenheimer.