On Saturday night I joined a couple friends at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to see what was a pretty massive billing in the my world of indie rock. Wye Oak opening for Local Natives opening for The National. We missed Wye Oak but I was still happy to see Local Natives and The National. What I wasn't stoked about was, sadly, that Local Natives are still playing roughly the same set they've been playing for their past three visits to San Francisco. Yes, I saw them at the Rickshaw Stop, Bottom of the Hill and The Fillmore. Yes it's a little obsessive, but they're that good. Let's move on!
Part of the problem, of course, is that Local Natives only has one album. To their credit, they did slip in a couple new songs. Songs that I really liked. But we heard back in May at the Sasquatch Festival that they were, "going back to Los Angeles to make another record." I know things take time but how about dropping a few more new songs into the set?
The National took the stage and didn't disappoint but still left me wanting for more. It's a feeling I've often felt at National shows. Their performances are always heartfelt – this one, strangely upbeat – but their sound just isn't that varied. It can make for a night of "That was great! Didn't they play this already?"
But would I go it again? For sure - I'll do it every time they come to town. Now let's just hope that they start playing smaller venues again and peppering their sets with some more variety.