Local Natives + Middle Kids @ Theatre Rialto – 28th May 2019

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Local Natives on stage at Theatre Rialto

LA indie rockers Local Natives brought their new Spiral Choir world tour to Montreal tonight. The tour follows the recent release of their fourth album, Violet Street.

Kicking the night off were Middle Kids, a four-piece from Sydney, Australia. Lead singer Hannah Joy channelled Courtney Barnett and Sharon Van Etten as she strummed moody power chords on her inexplicably upside-down guitar. Hannah is a classically trained pianist who grew up singing church hymns and is married to her multi-instrumentalist bandmate, Tim Fitz. Drummer, Harry Day, studied jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. And they also have an enthusiastic supporter in none other than Sir Elton John. 

Tonight they receive an enthusiastic response from the Rialto crowd, many of whom are obviously familiar with the band. Edge Of Town gets the best response of their set but the newly released Beliefs & Prayers shows they have plenty of great tunes and are certainly a band worth paying attention to.

While Middle Kids still seems like a young band, Local Natives took the stage with the cool professionalism and confidence of seasoned musicians. New songs Café Amarillo and When Am I Gonna Lose You prove that they still have so much to offer. Hopping between instruments and swapping lead vocal parts, nearly every member of the band proved themselves capable of playing multiple instruments, all while singing in three or four-part harmonies. Their vocals were impressively tight with each note sounding clear and on point. A highlight was Kelcey Ayer’s remarkable vocal range, as he confidently belted high notes on songs like Coins, You & I, and Airplanes.

The five-piece played a really diverse set with a great flow to it, featuring songs that spanned their entire career and all four albums. They also acknowledged the band’s connection to Montreal where they recorded their much-loved Hummingbird album.

The dedication of their audience was evident when the band played older tracks from albums like 2009’s Gorilla Manor, belting out the vocals on Who Knows, Who Cares, erupting into cheers from the opening piano of Airplanes and dancing enthusiastically for a fantastic Dark Days.

Of the new material, band-favourite Tap Dancer really stood out. And When Am I Gonna Lose You already feels like a future classic.

In 2019, Local Natives are bursting with confidence and sounded incredibly tight. Complete with cool stage design, a moody light show, and the aforementioned multi-instrumentalists, it’s impossible to not be completely engaged and impressed by a Local Natives performance.

Review & Photos – Steve Gerrard

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