Live Review: Local Natives, New Gods, Texture Like Sun

20 May 2013 | 4:12 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

Local Natives are great because they know what they’re good at and they do it very well indeed.

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Jangly guitars, soaring vocals and boat shoes were the order of the night at The Metro when Californians Local Natives popped in for just their second Australian tour. Texture Like Sun were the openers and with a pedigree that includes TZU and Blue King Brown, their cinematic indie was a surprise. Sounding more like Jeff Buckley or very early Coldplay (the good kind), Texture Like Sun revolved around Cesar Rodrigues' quite stunning voice. The only thing missing was the engagement with the audience, but that will come.

New Gods were all energy and shiny melodies. The boom of the drums and the lovely harmonies were wrapped around dense layers of sound that really only threatened to get out of control right at the very end. A little more of this and New Gods will have quite a thrilling live show on their hands.

Focusing largely on new album Hummingbird, Local Natives were impressively tight. Singer/guitarist Taylor Rice's jittery dance moves reflected the frenetic guitar that drove the songs. While it was Talking Heads' Warning Sign that the band did a new interpretation of, it was the exquisite harmonies reminiscent of bands such as The Byrds and the Californian classic radio rock of the '70s that seemed most to guide the direction of the new songs. Mt Washington in particular slowly built from a quiet guitar line into something chaotic and messy but never loose, and was one of the set highlights.

Though the new songs were played with precision, the biggest response was for older songs such as Airplanes, World News and Sun Hands. The dual drumming in Airplanes further highlighted the way this band was so in sync, not a beat was out of time.

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Sometimes live acts are great because they're dangerous and all over the place. Local Natives are great because they know what they're good at and they do it very well indeed.