Photos by Makena Cummings
As they prep to release their newest studio album, Sunlit Youth, arriving 3 years after 2013’s Hummingbird, Local Natives dropped by Rough Trade to rehearse a few new songs with their eager fans, reminding Brooklyn why they’re one of the most respected and beloved acts in recent years.
Playing for only an hour and fifteen minutes, the set seemed to whir by as quickly as Matt Frazier’s telltale percussion and as smoothly as the band’s multi-part, angelic harmonies. On the new tracks, though, there’s an obvious shift towards a more polished, less syncopated drum structure, with a bit more cymbal mixed in with the frenetic tom and snare hits. The results aren’t any less compelling — perhaps just a healthy progression as the band continues to expand their sound. Overall, the new tracks were met with an impressive level of excitement from the crowd, particularly “Past Lives” and “Fountain of Youth.”
In the midst of the new songs, the band treated fans to some of their favorites, launching everyone into a sing-a-long for “Airplanes” and, as Taylor Rice crowd-surfed, an explosive, all-out party for “Sun Hands.” Local Natives performed easily one of the best shows I’ve seen this year, and there’s not doubt in my mind they’ll do the same at Terminal 5.