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Local Natives returned to their roots – and flaunted some new foliage – on Tuesday night at the Satellite, playing a surprise show that seemed like old-home-week to those who remembered the quintet’s August 2009 residency at the club-then-known-as-Spaceland.
- ||| Photos by Laurie Scavo
In that heady year, the fivesome formerly called Cavil at Rest – armed with an album made in Raymond Richards’ little studio in Rancho Park – ignited the spark with a February residency at the Silverlake Lounge, stoked the flames with tours and club shows in the spring and summer, enjoyed a line-around-the-block stint at Spaceland (hey, some band named Fun supported on the final night) and signed to Frenchkiss Records by yearend. A little over a year later, they played Disney Hall. And that album, “Gorilla Manor,” has sold 114,000 copies (not earth-moving but solid for a record of its type).
On Tuesday, they set up their own gear.
Then they played an exuberant, if imperfect, set of music that by my count included eight songs from their new album “Hummingbird,” due Jan. 29.
The album was recorded earlier this year in the New York studio of Aaron Dessner (of the National). First-blush reaction is that by and large the new songs are less reliant on the gang harmonies that were “Gorilla Manor’s” calling card – Kelcey Ayer and Taylor Rice carried vocal duties on the majority – and even more grounded in complex rhythms and textures, both of the electronic and organic variety. The first single “Breakers,” “Black Spot,” “Ceilings” and “Heavy Feet” stood out.
All were well-received by the home crowd, who got downright feverish when Local Natives finished with the familiar “Airplanes” and “Sun Hands.” For them, the band’s next local show, their record-release gig Jan. 29 at the El Rey Theatre, seemed too far in the future.
Opening the show were Superhumanoids, whose lush, New Orderly electro-pop gets better with each outing. They wind up their current residency at the Echo next Monday. No exact news on the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated release of their album “Exhibitionists,” but rumor is the band will be picked up by hot local imprint Innovative Leisure, home to Hanni El Khatib, Nosaj Thing, Nick Waterhouse and Allah-Las, among others.
Local Natives setlist: Black Spot, Breakers, Wide Eyes, You and I, Ceilings, Warning Sign, Heavy Feet, Colombia, Who Knows Who Cares, World News., Bowery, 3 months, Airplanes, Sun Hands.