Local Natives – HOB Dallas – 10-8-13 Local Natives – HOB Dallas – 10-8-13

Photos by Sean Berry Photography // Words By Kelsi Williamson


Out of blue mist they took to the stage of House of Blues Dallas quietly and unassumingly, folded within the bellows of an ever-increasing instrumental howl. As the melodies began to layer one on top of another, a listener may have feared becoming lost, overwhelmed within this unknown nebula of light and sound. Yet cultivated amid the unpredictability of their harmonies and their unyielding beat lies the euphoric power of Local Natives to create a space for their listeners that’s neither here nor there. The five-part group (usually four-part, the band is touring with a bass player) LA based indie band acted as creator, host and navigator of this space leaving no doubt of that it is possible to drift into space with your feet simultaneously rooted firmly on the ground.

The entire night was one emotional transfer of energy after another. Beginning with the up-tempo, Breakers, Local Natives made sure that one guy in the crowd could begin (and then continue) his incessant jumping in time with the beat of every song. Don’t get me wrong, the guy could jump, but seriously, his calves have to still be killing him. What’s amazing, however, is that while jumper was jumping, others were swaying or head bobbing, or doing some other seemingly incongruent movement. Here is where we see the art of Local Natives’ navigation-the unassuming drift of their sound remains methodical enough that any and all of these movements remain completely justified. Masterfully, they created space for your inner being to feel however you want it to, and that is good.

Such an experience was moving. You can’t help but feel elevated as you watch each band member work separately towards a combined goal. Individually, each is in their own world, but together, their voices and instruments rise and fall until that perfect moment where they mesh in lilting triumph. When this happened during Shape Shifter, I swear I saw a woman sobbing in the balcony.  While guitarist Taylor Rice jolted around the stage like a miniature lightning bolt, the touring bass player contentedly sloppy swished in the background-just one more example of that seamless incongruence I keep talking about.

Local Natives left me with knowledge of a space at one time sad, joyful, hopeful, and nostalgic. I watched with too many other young hipsters as they unlocked the door to a place where you can be thankful for the physicality of this world by first escaping it, even if just for one, quick second. As the heart-wrenching Sun Hands came to a close and the silhouettes of Local Natives members faded back into the blue smoke from which they first came, we were left grateful. Grateful to be given the space to see what and to be who we needed to that night-to jump in reality and sway through our dreams toward something greater.

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