Beautiful Noise – The Local Natives at the Bowery Ballroom

‘It’s just… beautiful noise,” Elana turned to me and said, as the show was coming to a close.

Elana’s quip was spot on, as the Local Natives jammed out their second encore and final song “Who Knows Who Cares.” The tiny Bowery Ballroom was, by then, filled with smiling happy people, singing and humming along to the band’s melodies and harmonies, just creating a most beautiful noise.

While pondering how to approach this post, I thought about my take of the concert as a whole – the positives and the negatives. I could focus on the annoying Columbia kids who pushed their way to the front and were standing next to me and spent the whole time shouting and trying to grab the hands of members of the band. I could mention that, once they saw my kippah and my Columbia t-shirt (note to self, don’t wear those shirts in public anymore) asked me if I lived in East Campus (where many Jewish students live) and if I dine in Hewitt (where the large Kosher cafeteria is).

But that was just the people, not the music. And as I learned from Nick Hornby’s masterpiece High Fidelity, in the end of the day, making connections with people is actually not about what movies and books and bands you like, as he initially thought. This truism is only strengthened every time I attend a show and have to witness a few of the most annoying human beings ruining the experience for everyone else.

I could also talk about the sound not being perfect, or the guitars seeming a little blunt, or the fact that Local Natives didn’t go on until close to 11, after two opening bands that I neither knew were playing nor cared to see.

I could even compare this show to the Vampire Weekend concert I went to a while back, as both bands played a little over an hour, and only played their one album without any covers or onstage innovation. (Sans, of course, Local Native’s cover of Talking Heads’ Warning Sign. But that was on the album so it doesn’t count as a ‘real’ cover.)

But something about this show left me grinning, dancing, and singing along all night. This is a band touring on the strength of their first album, with a live presence that’s unheard of at this stage in a band’s career. Even more importantly, this is band that has a guitar player able to pull off the most absurd moustache since Dennis Eckersley.

While the sound was at times less crisp than the album, the band was able to pull it off with simple performance intensity coupled with impeccable vocal performances. Every single song contained multi part harmonies and nothing ever sounded out of tune.

It probably helps that I lover every song on the album, and that I think this is just a fantastic band that’s going to be big someday. For more on them, check out the bootleg I recently posted here.

Opening for Local Natives was a band called The Suckers (which called themselves Succubus, though Succubus is the name of a Swiss-Goth Metal band, so that can’t be them…) who put on an… interesting show. If you were there, you know what I mean. Check out the pics, check out this video of Local Natives and their La-Blogoteque video, and also The Suckers’ La-Blogotheque video (thanks Elana for tracking this down!).

Also, much thanks to Elana for the wonderful photos. The first two are The Suckers (check out the… weird stuff written on the singer’s forehead) and the rest are Local Natives.

Enjoy the music, enjoy the pics, and please make sure to check out this band because in the end of the day, it’s just beautiful noise

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