The Local Natives Spiral Choir Tour in San Antonio
Spiral Choir Tour:
“Each time I see a Local Natives show live, I find that I notice a new detail or instrumental component and how intertwined and intricate they are within each song. That’s the beauty of Local Natives”
Hailing from Silver Lake, Los Angeles, the Local Natives consists of Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboards, percussion, guitar), Ryan Hahn (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Matt Frazier (drums), and Nik Ewing (bass, keyboards, vocals). They released their debut album Gorilla Manor (2010), setting themselves apart in the indie world with their hyperactive drumming, multifaceted vocal harmonies, and afropop-influenced guitars combined. The album gained traction and debuted on the Billboard 200 and at No. 3 in the New Artist Chart. Since then, the group continued to refine their sound and push the boundaries within the indie realm with three additional albums: Hummingbird (2013), Sunlit Youth (2016), and just released Violet Street (2019). The band is currently embarking their first leg of the #SpiralChoirTour which spans over a month across North America and ending in their hometown Los Angeles.
This was the concert I had been looking forward to attending ever since the band first teased a tour. Having fallen in love with their unique sound, ability to put on an amazing show experience, charismatic personalities, and their use of influence to do good, I’d have to say that this is my favorite band. I am drawn by each member’s collaborative efforts as they write and work together. A favorite is Ewing working on the art for the band as well. The group is intentional with their music, platform, art, production. The Local Natives actually made me realize my love for music and that I didn’t have a desire to attend dental school anymore. While studying for a microbiology exam at 3am, I had the epiphany to “Wide Eyes.” I couldn’t get over how intricate and beautiful the song was and still to this day remain in awe. It wasn’t my first time listening to it – probably my 100th time. That was when I realized how unhappy I was and only wanted to work in music. Having the opportunity to finally shoot them that night was a dream come true.
I’d seen the band perform a few times before and knew what a treat the show would be. Upon arriving to The Aztec Theatre, a line could be seen wrapped around the block from the entrance. The band had announced earlier that day that $1 from every San Antonio (and Dallas) ticket would go to Callisto – a non-profit organization that develops technology to combat sexual assault and harassment. Each show date would benefit a different non-profit relating to fight sexual assault and/or sexual violence.
After much anticipation, the band took the stage slowly as the crowd cheered. The stage was dark indigo blue and the group opened with “Vogue” which I love for its immersive arrangement. The vocal harmonies glide over and reminds me of elegant dancing water. This song surprised me when I first gave the new album a listen. It was different from their sound but at the same time not, with its intricacy. The band followed with their high-energy “Sun Hands” which completely threw me off. In the past, the band consistently ended their shows with Sun Hands followed by a classic crowd surf from Rice. This time, I was excited that I could capture the surf. The crowd, in shock as well, fed on the energy as the band played a good mix from all of the albums.
Favorites included “You And I” which features Ayer hitting the high notes and the song reminding me of heartache, “Past Lives”, and “Who Knows Who Cares.” It was my first time hearing “When Am I Gonna Lose You” and it did not disappoint with its stunning constant harmonies. Hearing a few from the new album live made me love them even more, which is no surprise as this tends to happen the more Local Natives shows I attend. Each time I hear a song live, I find that I notice a new detail or instrumental component to it and how intertwined they are within each song. My favorite is that the band members consistently moved around and switched spots as they played different instruments.
Before “Who Knows Who Cares,” Rice speaks to the audience and empowers them to take action on their own future. He also lets us know that there’s an organization on-site right now to help you register to vote.
“We can decide our own future,” Rice says as they begin the song.
Ending the night with this song was powerful – allowing everyone to all sing together and echo back “oh, oh, oh, ohhhhhs” throughout the venue creating a sense of unison while the band members beamed on stage.
“We love you. We hope to be back soon,” Rice said as the band departed off the stage.
It was clear that everyone felt the same everyone cheered and clapped.
A Local Natives show is a show like no other. I highly encourage you to check them out and catch them live if you get the chance. This quintet is like no other. I’ll be seeing them in two nights when they stop by Austin, Texas and play at one of my favorite venues. Until next time, I’ll be listening to their latest album and reliving some of my favorite moments from the show.
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