Local Natives @ Larimer Lounge, 05/21/10

There were a couple firsts at Larimer Lounge last night.  It was the first time I showed up at that particular venue while it was still daylight, it was the first time I had attended a sold-out show there and it was the first time I hung out a full show with someone I met on craigslist (in a ticket-trading sense, not dating sense).

I purchased 2 tickets for Local Natives a month or so back because I had a friend coming into town from California.  Those plans fell through, so I traded my second ticket for a ticket to the sold-out Frightened Rabbit show.  This ended up working out perfectly and resulted in meeting some really cool people.  I have a feeling I will be attending more shows with these people in the future.

We got to Larimer at 9:00pm because it was supposed to be an early show.  Suckers on at 9:00 and Local Natives on at 10:00.  So I was a little surprised when we walked into an empty bar at 9:15pm.  If the Sold Out sign wasn’t posted on the front door, I would have thought Local Natives were going to be playing to a light audience at best.

After a couple beers with my new friends, I went out for a quick smoke and a crowd was starting to congregate on the front patio.  By the time Suckers came on around 9:45pm, the place was getting pretty packed.  I had originally wanted to catch Suckers set, but they didn’t sound very impressive from our spot at the bar, so I decided to just listen from a distance.  Something I do not regret.  It Gets Your Body Movin’ sounded fun, but other than that I don’t think I missed much.

As soon as Suckers finished up we found a good spot at the front of the stage.  If Taylor Rice had not been pointed out to me earlier in the night, I would have been shocked when he took the stage.  Freddy Mercury is what we kept saying through the night, but now that I look back at my pictures, I think John Oates might explain his look a little better.  If there were awards for moustaches, he might give Franz Nicolay a run for his money.

Looks aside (Andy Hamm has quite a hair-do himself), these guys bring a whole new life to their material onstage.  Their debut album, Gorilla Manor, is amazing, but you just can’t know the intricacies and details in the music until you see it performed live.  They have the 4 man line-up in front, with each member taking turns on vocal, keyboard, bass drum and soundboard duties.  Each member is a multi-instrumentalist, which always makes for an engaging show.

They opened the night with one of my favorites, Camera Talk, before blasting through their 10 song set.  They had the packed house singing and dancing along the whole time.  And they had my head spinning with comparisons.  The upfront percussion reminded me of Dodos (only much better), the harmonizing reminded me of Fleet Foxes (again, much better) and I couldn’t help but think of Grizzly Bear as well (yet much more upbeat and again, better).

Earlier in the night we were discussing bands we had seen in places like this before they got big.  Seeing Vampire Weekend open for Shout Out Louds (me), seeing The Killers as an opening act (my new friend), seeing Drive-By Truckers at Great American…this list could go on and on, but it’s not as common as you’d think.  It’s much more common to see small bands in small places that stay small bands playing small places.  Last night was one of those rare nights; one of those nights where I felt like I was seeing something big…something in the making.  I guarentee if you are reading this right now and don’t know who Local Natives are, you will by this time next year.

The only negative thing I can say about this show is that Sticky Thread was a bad choice to start out the encore.   It’s just not their strongest song, and it’s energy could not compete with the energy of the crowd.  That being said, when they finished Sun Hands and left the stage for the second time, no one had anything to complain about.

Local NativesCamera Talk

Setlist: The full Gorilla Manor album