Local Natives exploded onto the indie rock scene in February with the release of their debut album Gorilla Manor, which blended African rhythms with three-part harmonies and earned them favorable comparisons with bands such as Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear.
The band played at Mojo’s back in May, and Sunday they returned to Columbia to play in front of a packed house at The Blue Note. Before the doors opened, a line of excited fans formed outside the venue and snaked around into an alley.
After two solid opening bands, The Union Line and The Love Language, as well as a video introduction, Local Natives finally took the stage to a rousing ovation from the crowd and burst straight into “Camera Talk.” The band’s unique percussion style gave the show an instant energy and within moments, the crowd was dancing.
Local Natives’ songs had no shortage of soaring “oohs” and “aahs,” which lent themselves perfectly to sing-alongs. One of the best moments of the show was when the band played “Airplanes,” and the volume of the crowd singing the chorus rivaled that of the band itself.
The entire set seemed like a blur — it was over in an instant. However, the crowd wasn’t ready to go home just yet. After several minutes of clapping, chanting and stomping, the band returned to the stage for a two-song encore.
The encore brought the energy level up a notch. Nearly everyone in The Blue Note was dancing and singing along, and a fan even managed to crowd surf for almost an entire song. Local Natives closed the show with their signature track, “Sun Hands,” an intense song that built to a climax in which the band — and everyone in attendance — screamed the chorus and then proceeded to rock out.
When the show ended, most fans seemed to leave in a daze, not yet able to comprehend what they had just witnessed. With a live show like this, it’s easy to see why Local Natives are gaining popularity so quickly.