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Indie rock giants Local Natives have proven once again how loyal their fan base is. They announced their pop up show at the Doug Fir lounge in Portland, Oregon just five days before they were to play on June 21st and the show sold out in minutes.

 

Fans not lucky enough to get tickets lined the walls outside offering to pay anything to get their hands on a spare from other fans pouring into the venue. Those lucky enough to snag tickets packed into the neon lit basement of Doug Fir where giant names like Nirvana have played in the past. It’s an intensely intimate setting, fitting 299 people making this concert a real treat for the super fans.

The occasion for the surprise would be the bands performance of new material from their new album Sunlit Youth, a follow up to 2013’s Hummingbird.

Opening with “Past Lives,” the band expanded on the layered, soaring vocal harmonies that they are known for, inviting everyone at Doug Fir into the hidden world they’ve been building in the studio.

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Trying new material on a crowd, especially one made up of super fans, is always a risk, but it’s definitely a privilege to be among the first to hear new music live. Sure, they threw in some hits and obviously people lost their shit. Arms were raised, phone camera’s were recording, people were air drumming the intro to “Wide Eyes” and screaming the chorus to “Airplanes.”

Each new song flowed effortlessly into the each older hit. People were just as amped for “Dark Days,” a new track rife with detailed synth layers that frontman Taylor Rice described to us onlookers as a nostalgic look at his love for gloomy days (yes, he was explaining this to us Portlanders)  and feeling out of place growing up in Southern California, as they were for “Breakers,” “Ceilings,” and “Heavy Feet,” all favorites off of sophomore release Hummingbird.

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The band continued to dig into powerful, percussion-driven “Masters,” a new track that sounds like something Local Natives might play while heading into war, and the crowd reciprocated the energy radiating from the stage.

They spoke of the nostalgia of playing in Portland. How this was the first place they would travel to for gigs before making it big. They reminisced on days of packing out the van and heading North to the gloomy, rainy city of Portland.

Local Natives helped lead a new wave of indie rock, shaping a robust, big-sound aesthetic for the genre. The new material still grasps on to those more experimental aspects, like multi-layered harmonies, Afropop-inspired rhythms and more use of electronics than we’ve ever heard from them before.

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The new music is definitely more approachable to those who maybe aren’t so into the sing-songy side of things. They seem to have outgrown their own brand of understated folk, and graduated into more sophisticated sonics. I.E Radiohead. New songs like “6’10” and “villainy” offered up aggressive percussion, boisterous guitars riffs and solos, and incorporated electronic undertones to make for a sounds that’s both fuller and more nuanced. They are still making music for those original fans, but the band seems to have grown up along with them.

Local Natives closed out with the boisterous hit “Sun Hands” as the encore, an already-fervently energetic song that kicked the body heat in the room as Taylor ushered everyone closer to the stage. Rice threw himself onto the crowd, surfing over nada as he sang and shouted the songs anthemic sing-a-long breakdown, and fans swarmed and stomped around him with such determination. We all were left standing in something of disbelief that the nearly 70-minute show was already over. We all craved more. It was the kind of set that made you regret all the times you missed catching them live in the past. I may not have arrived a super fan, but I sure as fuck left as one.

|Images sourced via: The Fader, Kanyetothe, localnatives.shopfirebrand, Pitchfork|

| Check out Local Natives website , twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud |

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