The Union Line and The Love Language warmed the overflowing crowd of Angelenos at the Fonda Friday night whilst the crowd awaited the headliners, Local Natives. Missing Union Line, but catching The Love Language was a unexpected treat. Bouncy, folky, mountain music at times switched gears pleasing the crowd as their set was reminicant of Oasis or Squeeze with a pinch of the other musical elements successfully entertwined. By the end of their set, the accumulating audience was bopping with feet off the ground, which is a sure sign you hit a nerve or two admist the gawkers.
The room was jam packed top to bottom when the headliners took the moody, dimly lit stage. Opening strong with “Camera Talk”, the band sounded bigger than the room, yet rich and full within the confines of the Fonda. The standing room area on the floor was jammed tight, the balconies had fans sitting against the walls on the floors in back. It was literally a full house.
“How many of you were at Spaceland last year?” they asked to an uproar after the 4th song. “Not that many of you were there” they factually pointed out to the fans. “This is a big leap” which no doubt is an incredible time marker fact. The small, sometimes inaudiable (depending on the sound guy) Spaceland stage is a drastic shift indeed for this hard working Indie band. They announced this show was the kick off for thei rnext leg of tour which will take them across country and to notable music fest Austin City Limits in Oct. ACL is just one of many noteworthy fests (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, FYF, etc) the guys have played this year and in very prominant time slots at each one. Their growth has superceeded their expectations.
Using “Shapeshifter” as a tent pole song in the middle of the set seemed like an excellent choice because it is by far one of the best songs on their CD and when performed live just rockets through your soul. Most of the songs when performed live take on an entirely different shape from their recording. No doubt all the touring has made these guys a tighter band, but, it also seems to have broadened their sound. Take “Airplane” for example that has some rich melodies and harmonies on the recording, but is incredibly fleshed out on stage and comes to life in an entirely different manor.
The encore of “Sun Hands” with strings strumming boldly in the background onstage adding a beautiful element to the eloquent melding of vocals. The amount of talent flowing onstage can be felt and seen within the band’s musicianship. Everyone in this band plays more than one instrument and when the lights come up, suddenly, the guitarist is playing keys and the bassist is playing drums next to the drummer! It’s very exciting and inspiring to watch these guys dig into their art and flourish onstage.
Finishing the encore with “Warning Sign” wrapped up this strong, incredibly original performance. Local Natives were fierce and no doubt the Saturday show slammed home another winning night of musical bliss to the sold out crowds of Indie music lovers. Next year…the Bowl!