Last spring, the South by Southwest Festival set the whole country abuzz with praise for a group of young musicians who ran across the streets of Austin with palpable fervor — instruments in hand — to play back-to-back sets at several different venues. This band, known as Local Natives, played nine shows in total during that festival. Luckily for Ann Arbor, Local Natives will be bringing their hymnal hippie harmonies to the Blind Pig tonight.
Tonight at 8 p.m.
The Blind Pig
The origin of Gorilla Manor — the acclaimed album’s tongue-in-cheek title — is solely a matter of living conditions. When the bandmates moved to the avant-garde Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, their communal home was in a constant state of tumult. In an interview with the Daily, Natives drummer Matt Frazier deemed the album title “a good representation of who we are as a band.”
“Chaotic, both in terms of the recording process and living conditions,” as Frazier said, Gorilla Manor — the housing situation as well as the album — was also “the best experience of our lives.”
From the chaos of the “Gorilla Manor,” solidarity was born. The collaborative nature of the Local Natives’ living experience is evident in their musical style. The drumming is frenetic and tribal and resembles community campfire music, while the vocals are characterized by continuous two and three-part harmonies (sung by lead vocalist Taylor Rice, keyboardist Kelcey Ayer and guitarist Ryan Hahn) that lend more weight to the profound meaning of each song. A prime example of this holistic sound can be heard in “Airplanes,” which was written as a tribute to Ayer’s late grandfather.
The Natives’ homey vibes should hold significant appeal for prospective attendees of their Ann Arbor show. Frazier expressed enthusiasm about the band’s ability to please the college town crowd.
“We’re extremely comfortable with the prospect of playing in Ann Arbor,” he said. “Every member of the band is well past college age, and we’ve learned a great deal about each other as we’ve grown together, so yes, we’re definitely excited.”