Local Natives

Following stints touring with indie-rock royalty the Arcade Fire and the National, the Los Angeles band honed its skills for sophomore album, "Hummingbirds."

Local Natives’ return to concert stages couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. The indie rock darlings’ 2010 debut album, “Gorilla Manor,” garnered them plenty of attention, but felt lost in the tide of bands like Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer who used similar vocal harmonies and Afrobeat rhythms and amassed larger followings. Following stints touring with indie-rock royalty the Arcade Fire and the National, the Los Angeles band honed its skills for sophomore album, “Hummingbirds.” On the eve of this album’s release, they played to a sold-out hometown crowd, whose anticipation for the return of their beloved band was palpable.

Taking the stage to David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” the quintet kicked off the first night of their tour (and the first of two sold-out L.A. shows) with “Breakers,” replete with complex drum rhythms, bright guitars and soaring harmonies.

Focusing primarily on their new material, Local Natives performed a majority of the songs off of “Hummingbird.” While it isn’t a major departure, the record lacks much of the youthful exuberance and reckless abandon of their debut. Many critics have praised their sophomore effort, which was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, for going deeper (tastemakers Pitchfork and NME both gave the album 8/10 rankings), but the material just didn’t deliver the same punch in a live setting as their earlier tunes.

That said, there was still plenty to grab onto, not least of which the album’s opening track, “You & I,” a tender lament to lost love on which vocalist Kelcey Ayer mournfully wails, “I woke up with my green eyes blue, all I think about is you.” Stripped-down ballad “Mt. Washington” also had a lot to offer, and recalled some of the Beach Boys’ weightier material.

While some of the tunes were melancholy, the overall mood at the Fonda was celebratory. “Our new album comes out in two hours, but it’s already out on the east coast so I guess it’s our record release party,” Rice announced just after 10 pm to the cheering crowd. The band played for just under 90 minutes, and threw in a few familiar, joyous romps for good measure, including crowd favorite “Airplane,” which had the whole place dancing and singing.

With extensive tour dates lined up through late spring, including stops at SXSW and Coachella, it’s almost inevitable that Local Natives’ star will continue to rise. Here’s hoping they can recapture that magnetic energy and boundless spirit that attracted that attention in the first place.

Local Natives

The Fonda Theatre; 1,200 capacity; $25 top

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice. Performers: Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, Ryan Hahn, Matt Frazier. Reviewed January 28, 2013.

More Music

  • Roddy Rich

    Roddy Ricch Signs Wide-Ranging Deal With Kobalt

    Kobalt has signed Roddy Ricch to a wide-ranging exclusive worldwide deal in which the company will have full administration of the rapper, singer, songwriter and producer’s catalog, as well as publishing, creative services and synch for his future works. Ricch is a relative newcomer, first emerging onto the music scene in 2017 with the release [...]

  • Kenya Barris Kid Cudi netflix

    Kenya Barris, Kid Cudi Team for Netflix Animated Series Based on Cudi's New Album

    Kenya Barris and Kid Cudi have set an adult animated music series at Netflix with an added twist. The series will be based on Cudi’s upcoming album, “Entergalactic,” which is set to be released by Republic Records. The series will showcase music from the new album, which is said to follow a young man on [...]

  • Michael Lang to Appear at Woodstock

    Michael Lang to Appear at Woodstock Anniversary Events at Morrison Hotel Gallery

    While the problems surrounding the troubled Woodstock 50 festival have certainly dominated conversation about the forthcoming anniversary of the original festival next month, cofounder Michael Lang is scheduled to take some time to look back at a pair of events held at the Morrison Hotel Galleries, in Los Angeles and New York on Aug. 7 [...]

  • Roc Nation Label Names Shari Bryant

    Roc Nation Label Names Shari Bryant and Omar Grant Co-Presidents

    Roc Nation has named Shari Bryant and Omar Grant co-presidents of the Roc Nation Label, the company announced today. The two will lead the Roc Nation team to develop strategies for signed artists while continuing to build the talent roster, according to the announcement. “There is no better way to celebrate my 20th anniversary in the [...]

  • Hugh Jackman 39th Brit Awards, Show,

    Concert Review: Hugh Jackman Sparkles and Shines at the Hollywood Bowl

    Hugh Jackman is out to prove he truly is the greatest showman. On Friday and Saturday night, Jackman’s “The Man. The Music. The Show.” world tour stopped in Los Angeles for a sold-out two nights at the Hollywood Bowl. Ten years ago, Jackman hosted the 2009 Oscars just a few blocks south of the venue at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content