Local Natives House of Blues October 7, 2010
Aftermath should, first and foremost, be honest: We aren't the biggest Local Natives fans. Why? We're not quite sure, really.
We try not to hop on the bandwagon too quickly when the newest musical craze pops up, but we try to do our best not to avoid enjoying music just because it's popular either. So as we walked into the House of Blues last night, we weren't sure what to expect from the bands, the audience or ourselves in the way we would react.
We enjoyed the hell out of the entire night.
The Local Natives are, put simply, extremely talented and a lot of fun to watch - or perhaps, more aptly put, experience. As the curtains opened to reveal the band members, the crowd cheered, chanted, and one guy even screamed the he was about to have an orgasm. Everyone was smiling, even the Local Natives.
Their set kept the fans pumped for about an hour before the band thanked the crowd and walked backstage, only to reemerge a few minutes later for an expected encore. The encore was hardly an afterthought; it was just as (if not more) energetic than the band's intended set list.
For their finale, Local Natives invited the Love Language and the Union Line onstage for a bongo-banging jam session that lasted for about five minutes, just long enough to satiate the crowd's palette as they cheered for more but ending just soon enough to stop an indie mosh pit from tearing down HOB.
It was like a wine tasting, but for your ears.
And this was less than two years after Local Natives played a show at Walter's on Washington to about five people, said pianist, guitarist, percussionist and vocalist Taylor Rice. That was also the last time they played with the Union Line.
The Union Line, who took the stage first, put on a solid performance as well. The three-part harmonies were perfectly executed and their bassist's mustache was amazing. But then again, mustaches and harmonies seemed to be the theme of the night.
Before them, Love Language opened, and Aftermath got a chance to catch three members smoking cigarettes outside.
"This tour has been one of the most influential experiences of my life," said lead vocalist and guitarist Stuart McLamb. "[The Local Natives] are just phenomenal, and they take what they do really seriously, in a good way, and we've really been influenced by their craftsmanship. And the same goes for Union Line."
Thursday night was unfortunately Love Language's last show with Local Natives and Union Line, but they hope to tour reunite sometime as well as visit Houston again soon. Hopefully, they said, headlining next time.
As is the case with most opening bands, HOB was still mostly empty when Love Language finished their set, but afterward at least 20 people headed to the merch table, where they bought the group's CD and/or apparel. And something's always better than nothing.
The only real hiccup of the evening was when Union Line's bassist told the crowd, "This isn't our first time playing Austin, but..."
"This is Houston!," one fan screamed as the rest of the crowd murmured. But by the end of the evening, Houston had forgotten about the slipup at the beginning of the show and had been caught up in the contagious wave of good vibes all three groups were sending our way.
Hell, we would have forgotten about it too had it not been for our phone. Thanks, Twitter!
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Although initially hesitant, Aftermath left HOB satisfied with the entire evening, and we remembered that if you enjoy it, it doesn't matter the genre of music or how popular it might be at the time, because if it can make you feel good, it's working.
Personal Bias: Aftermath first heard of the Local Natives about a week before their sold-out show at Mango's a few months back. We were undecided then, and we were undecided going into the show. But having seem them live - their strength as musicians, as performers and as a group of people who genuinely appreciate their fans - we're officially on the bandwagon.
Overheard in the Crowd: "These guys are so good, I'm about to come."
Random Notebook Dump: As Aftermath got home, we looked up the Local Natives on Twitter, and this was their status at the time: "Houston @LOCAL NATIVES and @THEUNIONONLINE reunion tonight! It's been a long time since Walters on Washington..." Now that's pretty cool.