Less than twelve months ago, LA-based indie rock band Local Natives performed in Whelan’s for at most a couple of hundred fans. This past summer, they further proved themselves in a coveted afternoon billing on the main stage at Longitude. And tonight they are headlining a packed Olympia Theatre.
They are greeted onstage by a warm and welcoming round of applause as atmospheric smoke and lights give way to the opening beat of ‘Breakers’, the first single from their sophomore album Hummingbird. A keyboard and mini drum kit consisting of a single floor tom and cymbal are set up at the front of the stage. All five multi-instrumentalist members of the band collaborate on all aspects of their music, and tonight the four unshaven frontmen share guitar, vocal, keyboard and percussion duties, swapping roles from track to track.
Wearing skinny jeans and a white shirt, Taylor Rice explains that performing in Dublin always ruins their touring schedule for about three days; so this time around they asked for a day off in Dublin. Much to the amusement of the audience, he describes how they all ended up drinking Guinness in one of the native locals; Copper Face Jacks, where they were informed by one of the drunken patrons that they “don’t belong there”. Thankfully, Rice didn’t seem to take offense to this drunken slur.
While the crowd applaud enthusiastically, they remain somewhat sedate during the songs, perhaps savouring the energetic onstage performance. They are treated to almost every song from Hummingbird, but seem more familiar with tracks from 2009 album, Gorilla Manor, singing along loudly to favourites like ‘Airplanes’ and Talking Heads cover ‘Warning Sign’. Unusually for the Olympia, the sound quality is a bit disappointing; the bass and guitars are brick-walled at times, and the vocals seem a bit too low in the mix.
About two dozen oversized light bulbs have been hanging unlit against the backdrop since the start of the set. During the pre-encore climax of ‘Who Knows, Who Cares’, they are finally illuminated gradually as the intensity of the music builds and the fans really start to let loose. The ensuing encore begins with the stage in complete darkness until the swinging light bulbs are lit, and the finale of ‘Columbia’, ‘Heavy Feet’ and ‘Sun Hands’ ends the performance on an energetic high note, to a huge round of applause.