Gig Review: Local Natives @ The Corner Hotel, 8th January


“This is out first ever headline show in Australia, and you guys have been everything we could have possibly hoped for.”

Last night, LA band Local Natives played one of their two Australian headline Laneway sideshows this tour, at The Corner Hotel. They played a set full of harmonies, hyper-active drumming and plenty of charm, consisting of the entirety of their brilliant debut album ‘Gorilla Manor’.

There was absolutely nothing not to like about this show, and it only further demonstrated that Local Natives are here to stay, and have a live show to back up their infectiously fun studio material.

I struggle to think of a better way to open a show than with World News, and the moment the five band members walked onto stage and began their show with this, my personal favourite song from ‘Gorilla Manor’, the sold out Corner Hotel crowd knew we were in for a great show.

The remarkable thing about the song is that it manages to say so much with so little. At first glance it seems like just another indie rock/folk song, but once you start to listen to the lyrics and get caught up in the dual-drumming, you realise that it is so much more. It was a wonderful way to start the show, and ensured that every single person in the venue was enthralled by the set right from the very start. That immediately catchy chorus of  ‘do-do-do’s in particular felt like it was emanating from the crowd at large rather than the figures up on stage.

“Oh as you think, the bad feeling so bad makes the good so GOOOOOD!”

Camera Talk saw the good vibes and summery feeling continue, demonstrating just why ‘Gorilla Manor’ is as fantastic as it is. There really isn’t a weak song on the record, and this translated to a live show with very few downswings, instead settling into a rhythm of constant upbeat music and happyfungoodtimes.

Their well-known cover of the Talking Heads’ Warning Sign saw a very warm response from the crowd, who were also just getting into the swing of the night, as slightly self-conscious dancing began to spread around the venue. The furious chorus saw the band let loose, screaming into their mics to create a very powerful sound indeed.

Another big track from their debut record, Wide Eyes, made an early set appearance, and was greeted with loud applause everyone in the crowd, all of whom clearly knew their ‘Gorilla Manor’ records pretty well. It was the kind of atmosphere you don’t really get at a festival: everyone was here solely to see Local Natives perform, and everybody was getting the most out of the music and the experience.

Shape Shifter saw the band’s more introspective and restrained side take over, leading to a rousing chorus that came to life within the confines of the Corner Hotel. Once again, the truly spectacular moments of the show came when the band shared lead vocals, with the resulting harmony never failing to take my breath away.

The band was captivating to watch on stage, constantly swapping instruments and at all times seeming very energetic and just happy to be playing to a sold out, adoring crowd. On the rare occasion that they interrupted their music with banter they were completely charming, talking about how this was their first headline show in Australia and praising the Laneway festival.

Airplanes saw probably the biggest response from the crowd, as some people even tried to do their best at the ‘Boo’ing that greets the start of the studio recording before breaking into cheers and clapping. The raw and powerful chorus of “I love it all, so much I call I WANT YOU BACK” was sung unanimously and loudly by everyone in attendance, as the track built to its powerful climax.

The band finished their set with on of their least upbeat tracks in Who Knows Who Cares (which was still great), however returned to the stage very quickly to play the song that everyone knew was coming, Sun Hands. It was frantic and fantastic, ensuring that the show ended with a huge singalong as everyone screamed the euphoric chorus of “AND WHEN I CAN FEEL WITH MY SUN HANDS” along with the band.

It was a completely charming show from the LA band, in terms of both music and personality. The fact that they hung around after the show at the merch stand for nearly an hour was also extremely gracious- not many international bands choose to do this, and it was greatly appreciated by those that stuck around. I really enjoyed briefly meeting the band and chatting about both the night’s show and Laneway.

And it really had been a great night. The strength of ‘Gorilla Manor’ meant that they played plenty of hits and virtually no filler, despite only drawing from the one album. I also preferred the live song order to that of the record, if only because the big upbeat numbers were more spread out.  I would have loved hearing their cover of Cecilia live, but this is a minuscule and irrelevant complaint.

The music of Local Natives is so refined and so polished, and their live show so captivating, that I struggle to imagine anyone not loving this gig. I already adored the band before seeing them at the Corner Hotel, but this set only further asserted that these guys really are something very special, and that they will almost certainly only go from strength-to-strength in the future.

Hopefully it’s a future that sees them playing plenty of shows in Melbourne exactly like this.

2 Responses to “Gig Review: Local Natives @ The Corner Hotel, 8th January”

  1. Great review. I wasn’t at this show, but it mirrors my thoughts of the Brisbane Laneway gig.

    One of the things I liked most about them, as you pointed out, apart from the awesome harmonies and great live sound is that they were just really cool guys, they interacted with the crowd and were very down to earth, acting more like a local band than the international up and comers that they are. Very refreshing to see.

    They definitely put on a rewarding show for anyone going to see them.


  1. Tweets that mention Gig Review: Local Natives @ The Corner Hotel, 8th January « And Pluck Your Strings -- - February 9, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hotels Reviewed, Lachy. Lachy said: Gig review of @localnatives at the Corner Hotel last night. […]

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