ACL Review: Local Natives

Third time proves yet another charm for L.A. pop savants

In 2010, Los Angeles circuit band Local Natives put on a breakthrough set at ACL’s burgeoning Austin Ventures stage in support of indie rock staple Gorilla Manor. Three years later, they upgraded to the larger Samsung Galaxy stage. Now, in 2016, the band proved stadium-ready late Sunday afternoon during an explosive performance at the Honda stage.

Local Natives guitarist Taylor Rice (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

In other words, the Texas state capital remains a special place for Local Natives.

“Austin was one of the first cities to care about us outside of Los Angeles,” confirmed keyboardist Kelcey Ayer early on. “You’re a huge part of our history.”

Their appreciation showed in set opener “Past Lives.” The gallop of erratic riffs and glistening synths embodies third effort Sunlit Youth. Their major label bow, it shines a mainstream varnish that glosses over some of the group’s intricate arrangements of textured guitar layers and intertwining, slow-burned instrumentation.

Perhaps because of that, the quintet was quick to please die-hard fans with staple tracks from Gorilla Manor. Equally well-received were cuts from the angular, complex Hummingbird, whose “You & I” plied an eerie, reverb-cloaked sweep.

Clattered washes of drum rolls coalesced with rustic vocals on the Fleet Foxes-reminiscent “Sun Hands” that culminated into a distorted cacophony. It played out as a loving ode and fitting send-off all in one.

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Local Natives, ACL Fest 2016, Kelcey Ayer, Fleet Foxes

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