Tonight at Satellite, Local Natives played their first live show in almost a year. Not only did it mark the first time that songs from their long anticipated sophomore release, Hummingbird, were played live but it also marked a return to Satellite (formerly Spaceland) where the band initially cut their teeth and honed their craft in residency, nearly three years ago. After nearly a year of not performing, the band was surprisingly tight. There were little issues here and there but that was what this show was all about...working out the kinks, trying out the new material and getting ready for what will be a big tour that kicks off in Japan on November 4th.
So how was the show? It was really good, with a lot of surprises. They played a lot of new songs off of Hummingbird but also brought out a lot of crowd favorites from Gorilla Manor (Wide Eyes, Warning Sign, Sun Hands, etc.). The new songs are definitely less intense. Less rhythm heavy. Less driving. But good. There's a lot more use of electronic drums on the part of Matt Frazier which gives the songs a lot more chill, grooving vibe. Interestingly, the band was joined on stage by Andy Hamm (or a guy that looks like an Andy Hamm double) -- Andy is the Local Natives bassist who was previously let go. Hopefully this means the old band is back together and it's not a one-off for the local show because he was clearly having a great time on stage and they sounded great together.
This is now the 5th time I've seen the band live (previously: Rickshaw Stop, Bottom of the Hill, The Fillmore and the Bill Graham Civic, operning for The National). Back in December of last year my take was that they desperately needed more songs. In that way, Hummingbird delivers. It's bringing a whole new sound to the band and is a nice complement to Gorilla Manor. The two albums create a wide enough variety of sounds that the band will have no problem keeping things fresh.
I started the day not knowing that I'd be attending this show with a mere 259 other lucky folks who nabbed a ticket. As excited as I was all day to attend the show, I'm now doubly excited for the album release on January 29th. If tonight is any indication, it'll be a long but fruitful wait.