Show Review: Local Natives at The Masquerade on October 15 [Atlanta, GA]

by Aaron Hodgin

First came The Union Line. They sounded a good bit like Local Natives, plus a little bit Fleet Foxes, plus a little bit elevator music. They seemed slightly inexperienced. I don’t mean immature or unrehearsed; they switched instruments way too much, and it was only towards the end of their set that I felt they’d achieved a real solid band dynamic. local natives

Next came the Ruby Suns. They’re from New Zealand, and their live set was nothing at all like my sister described it to me. It was very loop- and synth- heavy, and they mostly just stood behind their stations, which they’d covered in Christmas lights. It would probably have been more fun if anyone ever danced at the Masquerade.

Last came Local Natives. They had four people up front. It was cool, they each had distinct personalities. On the left was the guy with the big curly white guy afro. Next was the guy with the mustache. Their were some people in the crowd who had fake mustaches like his, like it was a sporting event or something. Middle-right was the keyboardist, who had a beard, like me. The guy on the right kind of blew my mind, because I didn’t realize Kevin Federline was their bassist. The drummer was in the back.

They sounded a lot like the CD. They didn’t seem to divert much, actually. Honestly, as much as I enjoyed seeing them in concert, they didn’t do anything that blew my mind. Local Natives’ music, for me, is just that: nothing out-of-this-world, but somehow therapeutic. It’s the sentiment that comes across through songs like “Shape Shifter,” to which the chorus is:

“What does the soul hallucinate,

I’ve got control, I’ll shift my shape.

If flesh and blood do not contain,

The mirrors don’t reflect my face.”

Or my favorite song, “Who Knows, Who Cares,” to which the chorus is:

“Who knows? Who cares?”

The band’s image, based on their music, lyrics, and artwork, is one of psychedelic mystery. Although their live show was a joy to see, for they sounded great and performed well, it did not possess the same harrowing ambiance that the rest of their established work contains.