I had felt bad about being unable to attend Local Natives‘ previous gigs in Ireland, sure I had missed out on something wonderful. It’s still entirely possible that I did, but during Monday’s gig in The Village, when the band thanked the fans for bringing them there “after that awful Academy 2 thing…” I began to think maybe I was lucky that this was my first taste of their luscious music in a live setting. This was a gorgeous, sparkling evening of sun-drenched melodies, intensive drum beats and harmonies to melt away the collective worries of a crowded room full of people wondering if their nation will still be there in the morning. This was far, far too good to be housed in that dingey little basement on Abbey Street.
With so many other good gigs on, it was an unusually competitive Monday night in the city that sleeps in. Despite the stiff competition though, the Californian group managed to pack The Village with fans eager to hear their solitary album, Gorilla Manor, for the first or, quite possibly, fourth time live. Many were also wise enough to arrive early enough to catch promising Dublin (“mostly Dublin, well, two from Dublin”) four-piece We Are Losers open proceedings. The band caught the eye, or ear whatever, at their first gig at HWCH last month and the hardened pros turned in a great, energetic performance in this – their third gig. Frontman Gavin also displays his skills as a clairvoyant as he repeatedly informs us that Local Natives will be “fuckin’ amazing”. He’s not wrong. The band stroll out and move quickly into “Camera Talk” with the band arranged in an offensive-minded formation with only the safe hands of the drummer left to the back and the other four forming a tightly squeezed assault along the front edge of the stage.
The set is basically Gorilla Manor on shuffle and in total they’re only onstage for about an hour, but such is the scope of their tunes that this feels like a grandiose closing set at a festival. Songs like “World News” and personal favourite “Shape Shifter” carry ample amounts of creative twists and turns for the crowd to bask in. Sing along moments like “Airplanes” see the herd on the ground floor impressing the guys with their own soaring vocals. They return again on closer “Sun Hands” and it’s even more astounding as the bellowing reverberates off the curved ceiling above. The extended, charged version of the song has everyone, onstage and off, either throwing themselves around with abandon or drifting between being gobsmacked and displaying a giddy grin. This was worth the wait without a doubt and I’ll be first in line when they return with new material.