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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Local Natives display versatility, showmanship at Rialto Theatre

    Kelsee Becker
    Kelsee Becker / Arizona Daily Wildcat With a week between their two Coachella Music Festival performances, Local Natives play a set at The Rialto Theatre on Monday night. Their next show before heading back to Coachella will be at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Blvd Pool on Wednesday, April 17.

    On Monday night, indie act Superhumanoids may have filled the Rialto Theatre with trance-like harmonies, but their performance only helped to build anticipation before the stunning Local Natives took the stage.

    The indie rock band from Silver Lake, Los Angeles, walked out slowly, seemingly unaware of its screaming fans. The band members’ looks were typical for the genre, with neutral button-down shirts, rolled-up sleeves and scruffy beards completing their image.

    Instead of revving up the crowd with powerful and energetic songs from 2010’s Gorilla Manor, Local Natives opened by throwing everyone into a whirlwind of less percussive melodies from their new album, Hummingbird. There was little physical movement from the crowd, which seemed thrown off but transfixed. Two songs later, the audience got what it was waiting for with the Hummingbird hit “Breakers,” followed by Gorilla Manor’s “Wide Eyes.” It was clear throughout the entire show that Local Natives have perfected the art of seamlessly blending the contrasting songs from the two albums.

    The band took a different approach to their performance than seen at most other concerts. Band members constantly rotated positions on the stage, changing instruments while delivering a sound that was almost identical to that of their albums. Local Natives strayed from the norm of having a single lead vocalist hold the show together as they featured both vocalist and bassist Taylor Rice and keyboardist Kelcey Ayer as primary voices, accompanied by two of the other musicians.

    Like the track “Shape Shifter” from their first album, the band members became shapeshifters themselves, taking up a new role for each song and surprising the audience. It was thunderous and chilling at the same time, leaving audience members with goosebumps for the entire show.

    There was little talk from the band except for the kind, “Thank you, thank you so much,” after each song. There were no elaborate sets. Instead, Local Natives set the scene with flashing spotlights of red and blue.

    The presentation wasn’t elaborate, and it didn’t need to be. Each song seemed to be a crescendo to the next, barely giving the audience time to recover in between. A cluster of vibrant songs came one right after the other, such as “Airplanes,” followed by the rise and fall of the melodic “Who Knows Who Cares,” which made the audience go wild. The band truly had the audience hanging on its every word and melodic change. Every time a low whisper came from the stage, a dreamlike silence spread throughout the theater.

    Preparing for the end of the show, Ayer took sips of tea and quietly nodded his thanks to the crowd. Set closer “Sun Hands” was an explosion of perfect pauses and catharsis. Every member of the crowd screamed alongside Ayer as the band danced and jumped around the stage. The audience may have been stiff in the beginning, but by the end of the show, the entirety of the Rialto was mesmerized with the band’s energy and talent, leaving everyone hungry for more.

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