My oh my! Pomona raised the bar super high this past Wednesday night with Local Natives’ Fox Theater gig. Without a doubt, the Fox held one of the best shows of 2017, easy. Crowds packed in eagerly to catch Local Natives’ final show after a long tour leg.
Getting the night rolling was indie pop act, Tennis. While Grimy Goods has been in tune with this band since their early days, I had actually just found out prior to the show that the two founding members are in fact husband and wife. Alaina brings the glossy vocals while Patrick lays down some distinct grooves from their well-known tracks. This duo enamored the incoming audience with their ‘70s pop sound. Super smooth (check out our photos at the end of this post).
With the smoke machines creating a fog and the house lights going dim, it only meant one thing: it was time for Local Natives. These guys know what they’re doing, plain and simple. Not wasting any time they went straight into their set, kicking things off with the track, “Jellyfish” off their third and latest album, Sunlit Youth. Frontman, Taylor Rice is killer! From that track forward, he abruptly captured the attention of the entire theater with his sweet grooves and sways. Not even making it to the fourth song of the night, Rice hopped over the barricade and stood in the crowd singing out the rest of “Villainy” off the latest, Sunlit Youth. Now this band would truly be incomplete without one another as a team. Everything these guys create is a complete collaboration, whether it be the music or the artwork. You have co-frontman Kelsey Ayer on keyboards and beautifully piercing vocals, while slaying at percussion during one of the band’s fan favorites, “Airplanes.” Then you got Ryan Hahn on the other side of Rice, jamming on guitar and pleasing our ears with his vocals during the bands well-known harmonies and the smooth tune, “Dark Days.”
Local Natives’ sound is so encompassing live. They create this space for friends to sing and hug and dance and just be happy. Standing in the middle of the theater, I observed groups of attendees, whether there were two girlfriends together or five dancing to their hearts’ content. That is just one of the beauties in live music. People feel free and happy and able to let themselves go and just enjoy everything happening in that moment. Simply put, Local Natives radiate love and unity.
Not only did Local Natives perform so many of our favorites off their three albums, but we got to hear their latest single release “I Saw You Close Your Eyes,” which you probably didn’t miss being released on the internet uniquely to those who opened the link and actually closed their eyes while it caught the sensor and played.
Local Natives’ music will continue to evolve, but what we can always expect are those throbbing grooves that capture your attention. They also treated us to their take of “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West. The only way you’ll probably catch me enjoying a Kanye song is when Local Natives cover it. Check it out on Spotify if you’ve not yet feasted your ears, because it’s honestly stunning. All in all we were visually and sonically tuned in for an hour and a half.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein