The misty blue haze would have just about taken over last night, if it weren’t for the UFO-beam spotlights dicing it up into pieces. The strange, flat angles of Terminal 5 pulled everyone’s focus to the still-empty stage, where the spectacle was flickering to life – everyone, except fans near the merch booth, who were still gazing at the limited edition Sunlit Youth denim jacket reigning above. Local Natives had packed T5 for the first show of their 2-night run, but they used the exposure for much more than merch. Posted throughout the venue were signs about the sexual assault prevention program, Callisto, to which $1 from every ticket sale would be donated by the band.
The good vibes were undeniable, and opening guest Charlotte Day Wilson eased right into them with her smooth R&B vocals and subtle beats. Her blue-eyed soul had a bit of a quiet start, but she soon worked her way into some crazy-high registers, and even broke out the sax for a sultry solo or two. The crowd started moving, and the dancing bodies only multiplied before Local Natives took the stage.
They were just silhouettes walking on, but their fans screamed like they knew each band member personally. Soaking it up, Local Natives dove into the immersive intro of “Past Lives,” their harmonies rich and clicking right into place. Their full sound, brimming with retro synth and acoustic percussion, was all tied to the subdivided snap of Matt Frazier’s ceaseless, primal beat. Taylor Rice’s vocals oozed into the warm melodies, which fans sang in unison, and the sudden swells of bright, white lights made them more aware of each other’s presence.
The solidarity was something special. Cheers bubbled over at the front of the tight-knit crowd as Local Natives showed off the best from their new album, Sunlit Youth, their strong range in focus with each changing beat. But three songs in, they pulled out an old favorite, and the first notes of “Wide Eyes” were instantly recognized. “Do you guys feel like dancing a little bit with us?” Taylor asked softly, T5’s massive disco ball punctuating his words with a million spinning circles. And of course, the answer was yes.
Soon after, Local Natives reminisced about their very first NYC show at Pianos, back when they “were proud to just get 40 people in the room;” laughing that it was the best show of that tour. “So when I look at this fucking sight…” said Taylor, trailing off in disbelief. The sea of fans finished his sentence with a scream.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley