Summer Nostos FestivalSummer Nostos Festival

Music

Local Natives

Contemporary Music

Friday June 28, 22.00, Great Lawn

Local Natives

One of the most influential indie rock bands, California’s Local Natives are coming to Greece for the first time, as the last stop on their Spiral Choir tour of Canada and the United States, where they were consistently sold out. The five-member band’s origin story is a typically American: it was born in Orange County, in the basement of one of its three founding members (Taylor, Kelcey, and Ryan) when the boys were still in high school. “Back then it wasn’t cool. Everyone was into the Rapture, this disco-punk thing, and we were listening to the Beach Boys,” they recall. Today the band is made up of Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboard, guitar, percussion), Ryan Hahn (guitar, vocals), Matt Frazier (drums), and Nik Ewing (bass, vocals).

Their music has been described as “the distillation of California into soundwaves and vibrations.” The way in which vocals, guitar, and rhythm are combined in their sound is characterized by a compact energy which takes us directly to Southern California. It is a sound that, oddly enough, contains elements of the Beach Boys, Jackson Browne, and Radiohead at the same time. When they were asked in an interview to name the song they feel best represents their sound, they mentioned Wide Eyes. It incorporates the dominant features of the indie rock era as it has been shaped by Local Natives, including pop aesthetics, acoustic quality, multi-level vocals and harmonies, a dominant guitar, and a rhythm that makes you want to move to it—even dance.

They began recording at Silver Lake, California’s hipster bastion, seized the opportunities offered by the then-emerging MySpace era, and passionately organized a consistent series live appearances, through which they proceeded –slowly, methodically, and persistently– to build their legend. At one of these appearances, in Austin, they were discovered by associates of British record labels, who were the first to realize the power of the up-and-coming band. Nevertheless, their first album was recorded thanks to a loan given to them by Ryan’s father. They soon passed from the melancholy musical aesthetic of their debut album Gorilla Manor (2009) to a more rock sound with Hummingbird (2013). In Sunlit Youth (2016) they put out the message that although we live in cynical times “there is hope.”

They describe their fourth album, released in the spring of 2019, as psych rock. The music video of the album’s first single to be released, Café Amarillo, was directed by the visual artist (graffiti, painting and photography) and cinematographer Van Alpert, who has worked with commercial brands that are crucial to the dominant image of pop culture.

Local Natives are famous for their stage presence, their dynamic communication with their audience, and the promotion of important social issues. On the day of the November 2016 elections, they announced that their new song could be heard by anyone wishing to do so through a special application, as long as they were at a polling booth. At their concerts, the band often urges young people to vote. Among the causes they support are gun control in the USA, dealing with the refugee crisis, etc.