Local Natives pack a punch at emotional Greek Theatre gig

Local Natives Greek Theatre 2021

LA’s beautiful and newly reopened Greek Theatre filled in Saturday night for none other than the hometown heroes themselves – Local Natives. Post-lockdown vibes were apparent as ever and the emotions and excitement were palpable. 

Getting things started were fellow Angelenos, Cherry Glazerr. As everyone started getting settled, frontwoman, Clementine took the attention of the crowd with her almost grungy vocals and sometimes eruptive guitar leads. Their latest record, Stuffed & Ready came out in 2019 through Secretly Canadian. As of late, they’ve released a few new tracks, one only last week called “Soft Drink”. They ran through a really great set which covered the well-known “Daddi”, “Stupid Fish”, and “Told You I’d Be with the Guys”. 

As soon as their set finished the reality hit – Local Natives’ first set back after a year and a half was up next.

Truly the excitement was so high as the venue lights finally dimmed and the clouds of fog filled the stage around the band’s instruments.

With a roar of applause, Taylor, Kelcey, Matt, Ryan and Nik came out and the tears started flowing (on my end for sure). After watching countless social media live streams and sets, the time came for an actual concert with the boys. With no time to waste, they took our ears by storm and collectively began “Wide Eyes” – opening track to their 2010 debut record Gorilla Manor. The stage lighting was on point throughout the set which only added to the overall blast we were all having. The band would occasionally address their utmost gratitude they shared for everybody being there to share the night with them. You simply couldn’t deny the beautiful experience. The time we had watching them perform was just as incredible as they felt to be performing for us.  The guys’ curated an absolutely perfect setlist for the special evening as well. They covered well-known bangers like “Past Lives” and “Dark Days” off their third record Sunlit Youth all while catching many of us off guard with not as publicized favorites like “Mr. Washington” and “Columbia” off their sophomore record Hummingbird

A highlight of the show was undeniably when they brought out very special surprise guest, Lucy Dacus, to accompany on the duet “Lemon” which is recorded with Sharon Van Etten. The lovely Lucy Dacus conveniently flew in a few days prior from Philly and was asked to join them on stage. My jaw personally dropped as I am a huge fan of Dacus. You can do yourself a favor and check out all of her work, including her latest record Home Video. We even got a taste of new music with an unreleased track they decided to share with us. It’s obviously exciting to know they’ve been back in the studio because we can’t get enough.

The harmonies and melodies they cook up always deliver. The show inevitably came to an end with one of their singles off their 2019 release, Violet Street, “When Am I Gonna Lose You”. The upbeat song is all about the fear and anxiety LN singer, Taylor Rice had whilst traveling the California coast with his then new girlfriend, now wife. It’s about that almost questioning and hesitation in a sense that one does when they’re actually in a good place but fears it somehow ending. It actually wrapped up the similar feeling I’ve had surrounding the buildup to this show. I predicted how incredible it was going to be, yet feared the sadness I’d feel when it ultimately did end! 

Of course the guys didn’t completely end the night there. They came back on stage following the loud applause, cheering for them to indeed perform an encore. The guitar began for the song “Sun Hands” off Gorilla Manor and the crowd went even crazier in excitementIt’s known by fans who’ve seen LN before as a staple they typically end on. Taylor Rice usually crowd surfs during the ending chants of the song’s chorus however with the seated pit we definitely didn’t expect it. That didn’t however change the intensity of the performance. Kelcey Ayer who mostly plays the piano and assisting percussion, joins Rice on guitar and the two amp up the energy even more.

The guys didn’t completely end on that extremely high note. The show ultimately ended with banger, “Who Knows Who Cares” off their first record, Gorilla Manor. The song summarizes the bands’ feelings they shared when first starting out and not knowing where they’d go or how they’d even get there or simply make enough money to eat the next day. It goes without saying but I think we can agree that these five friends are doing very well for themselves. The song wraps with a collective and melodic chant which only brought the night to a sweeter end. The band joined each other at the front of the stage to hug each other and thank the attendees once more before slowly staggering off as if not wanting to even leave. We didn’t want them to leave either. Until next time, Local Natives! Los Angeles loves you!

Words by Danielle Gornbein
Photo by @addycat_