Live Review: Local Natives, e4444e

22 July 2019 | 2:13 pm | Melissa Borg

"Local Natives are one of those rare bands whose music really comes to life in a live setting."

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e4444e, a solo artist from Newcastle, was enlisted to warm up the crowd, but his brand of melancholic, experimental music would be considered more alienating than warming. Joined on stage by two others, the trio created dense layers of drums, recorded loops, vocals and guitars, which was intriguing and undulating. At times his vocals let him down, sounding a bit strained, but we watched intently and went on the journey with them. Deep in concentration one minute and waving us goodbye the next, the set ended abruptly and mysteriously.

Local Natives admitted it’s been six years since they graced our shores, and now with four albums under their belt, we sure had some catching up to do. Thankfully they wasted no time in reacquainting us, pulling out fan favourite Wide Eyes as the second song of their set and following it up with Ceilings, which immediately got the audience on board.

Making a faux pas early in the set, forgetting the name of the festival they were playing (Splendour), they made it up to us by playing I Saw You Close Your Eyes. Their set definitely had a 'best of' vibe, but they did celebrate their new album Violet Street by playing a happy song about the apocalypse – Megaton Mile – and the groovy Café Amarillo.

Local Natives are one of those rare bands whose music really comes to life in a live setting. Hearing old and new tracks side by side highlighted the band's growth, with newer tracks more atmospheric and considered, and older tracks clearly weathering the test of time. Despite the variance in styles, what remains at the centre of all their tracks are those lush multi-part harmonies, which sounded fantastic in a live setting, standing out against the layers of complex instrumentation. 

They rewarded their long-time fans by throwing back to Gorilla Manor for Sun Hands – of which the crowd immediately remembered the clapping pattern. They teased us with the familiar synth sounds of Dark Days, stirring up excitement in the crowd, before diving in and giving us a chance to dance, then rounded out their set with When Am I Gonna Lose You

Cheers of praise ushered Local Natives off the stage, but they couldn’t resist returning for a last hurrah as the crowd secretly hoped we wouldn’t have to wait another six years to see them again.