Local Natives at QMU, 6/11/16

Local Natives have not always had an easy time playing Glasgow, last time they played The Arches and some swarthy usurper stole a bass guitar from them and prior to that a fire alarm went off mid set during their show at King Tut’s; tonight luckily the performance remains undisturbed throughout.

The band who hail from Silver Lake in LA and are characterised by their hooky three part harmonies and calypso inspired guitar riffs bring a tiny sliver of Americana sun to a rather dreary Sunday evening in Glasgow.

 

Opening the show with new material, ‘Past Lives’ a happy, upbeat number from the bands latest record, Sunlit Youth, which an ode to inspiring America’s youth to take charge of their lives and be accountable for the nation’s future.

It’s a perfectly timed political call to arms, aimed at enticing the masses to put down their smartphones and stop liking things on Instagram and wake up to what’s happening around them and it’s not long before frontman Taylor Rice mentions his growing concern about ‘this crazy election’ that’s going on between Trump and Clinton.

The band plays a selection of songs from all three albums spanning their entire back catalogue.

Another newbie that goes down well is ‘Villain’, a song that has a pounding bass hook that sounds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex stomping down Hollywood boulevard wearing the Ruby Red Slippers from the Wizard of Oz; it’s a beast of a tune that seems to have unleashed bubbling vivacity within all group members on stage.

Kelcie Ayer on percussion looks like he’s bludgeoning a warlock to death, whilst Rice has unleashed his glorious head of hair that’s lashing about on stage like a magnificent lion’s mane.

The band look like they have recently just featured in a campaign for American Apparel, they are a defined mixture of 90’s grunge, strategically ripped t-shirts and skinny jeans galore.

This juxtaposed with the fact that every member is multi-instrumentalist that can flit seamlessly from one instrument to the next without even breaking a sweat – makes Local Natives pretty captivating viewing.

‘Airplanes’ is a stripped back jangly affair that is a heart-breaking homage to Ayer’s mother who passed away; it’s an emotional and raw moment in the show that silences even the loudest, bleary-eyed Tennents swigging punter at the bar and also instigates a massive sing-along from the audience.

The band follows this with ‘Masters’ – the song that was interrupted at King Tut’s with a fire alarm many years ago.

Rice explains that he couldn’t tell if the alarm was part of the song and explains that it will always remind him of Glasgow.

The rest of the set is played out with loads of audience singing along to the repetitive “ooohhs, ahhhs” and general chanty choruses that pepper most of Local Natives songs.

After a brief interlude the band come back to perform ‘Sun Hands’, a psychedelic, shoegaze goliath that doffs its cap to Glasgow’s very own Primal Scream and elements of Neutral Milk Hotel meets the Beach Boys all hidden within its swampy depths.

A great end to a flawless performance from a band that seem to have developed a meditative, nurturing quality (£1 of all tickets sales is being donated to charity) a band that are trying to pull away a generation that are becoming whitewashed within society to make them believe that as the lyric in ‘Fountain of Youth’ says “we can do whatever we want”.

Words/Photos: Ang Canavan

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