Dog Is DeadEdit this event
From this moment in time, it should be a pre-requisite for every new band starting out that they employ a minimum of two drummers. At one point in their set, headliners Local Natives actually have three, but more of them later. First up are local five-piece Dog Is Dead, a band whose name might conjure up images of tattooed men sporting mohawks and big shorts, but actually resemble something entirely more cultured. Think a slightly rougher around the edges Mystery Jets, or a less cynical Dexys fixated Rumble Strips and you're in the right ball park, musically at any rate. It's the soaring harmonies though that hold one's attention the most, belying their teenage years to a rousing effect. Although they still lack that one killer tune to really make an impact, the potential is there for all to see.
Having enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years thanks to the likes of Autolux and The Airborne Toxic Event, the LA suburb of Silver Lake's latest exports Local Natives just might be the most successful of the bunch, in a commercial sense at any rate. While debut album Gorilla Manor picked up mixed reviews on its initial release at the tail end of last year despite picking up a well-earned 8/10 here on DiS, there's no denying that in the flesh at least, this multi-faceted five-piece are an enthralling proposition.
Instruments are swapped, as are lead vocal duties at regular intervals, not least by mainly central figure Kelcey Ayer who combines singing duties with both drums and keyboards that further enhances the question why were humans born with only two hands? Indeed, aside from the heavily accentuated percussion elements that dominate most of Local Natives output, it's also worth noting that their faultless harmonising, occasionally taking in four of the band but never any less than three is as blissful on the ears as such an intensely laboured pleasantry as this would suggest.
Of course none of the above would make an iota of a difference if it weren't for the songs, and thankfully throughout their forty-five minute set Local Natives have plenty. Sure, the comparisons with the likes of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and Band Of Horses will follow them around with typically wistful chicken & egg style abandon, but delve below the beards and flannel shirted exterior and a trove of undiscovered surprises await. 'Sun Hands' brings the glitterball and disco lights to ATP, while 'Cubism Dream' could be mid-period Byrds reinterpreted by The Smiths in another lifetime. The most striking similarities throughout tonight's set undoubtedly parallel Yeasayer around their most obtuse All Hour Cymbals awkwardness. Opener 'Stranger Thread' and 'Wide Eyes' both veer off into their own unchartered sunsets courtesy of percussion heavy intros, laudable togetherness on the vocal front and a resounding ear for a tune or three, sometimes in the same song (take a bow 'World News').
By the end, there's a feeling of exaltation amongst the rather busy to say it's their first headline tour of the UK throng, probably safe in the knowledge that this could be one of those I saw them first moments. If they can translate the taut yet dynamic veneer of their live show onto record by the time Gorilla Manor's follow-up sees the light of day, Local Natives could be an excitably lavish prospect in waiting.
- In Photos: Local Natives @ The Scala, London
- Local Natives - Hummingbird
- In Photos: Local Natives @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London
- In Photos: Cloud Control @ The Forum, London
- In Photos: Constellations Festival @ Leeds University Student's Union
- The Fall, Local Natives, Tinchy Stryder and more for Summer Sundae
- Local Natives, Dog Is Dead at The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Thu 25 Feb
- Watch: Local Natives - 'Airplanes'