TVD Live Shots: Local Natives at Zebulon, 4/22

REVIEW: CRYSTAL ECKSTADT | After almost a decade-long run, Zebulon, the former Willamsburg, NY venue, closed its doors in 2012 and relocated to Frogtown, one of LA’s up-and-coming areas that’s creating its own music scene. Local Natives are in all senses of the word…locals here. They got their start in Silverlake and have stayed true to their local roots.

The band invited their fans on Instagram to an unusual listening party for their latest album, Violet Street, released on April 26th. Just for a few hours, The Los Feliz Car Wash was renamed the Megaton Car Wash (“Megaton Mile” being the 5th song from Violet Street). At the heart of the city of Los Angeles are a few mainstays from the past: obscure burger joints, doughnut shops, and throwback car washes that seem to line most streets. For a local band tapping into what signifies their city, a car wash was a novel choice.

Those lucky enough to get word of the event were treated with headphones to listen to Violet Street as they entered into a virtual car wash experience, followed by free tickets to the performance at Zebulon later that night.

Fans had the opportunity to get excited for what was to come and hear many favorites. Opening with “Sun Hands” from their 2010 debut album Gorilla Manor, the vibe of the crowd was already one of welcome arms.

Five tracks from Violet Street, “Café Amarillo,” “When Am I Gonna Lose You,” “Garden of Elysian,” and the now carwash famous “Megaton Mile” were unveiled under dim blue lights, a mood set for this melodic indie rock band. Apart from drummer Matt Frazier, all four other members Ryan Hahn, Kelcey Ayer, Taylor Rice, and Nik Ewing contribute to the vocals creating a smooth sound that dreamily brings you to whichever mental places they wish to take you.

“I don’t wanna die before I learn to live,” a lyric from the upbeat song “Café Amarillo,” off the latest album touches on what most of us are thinking. The beginning drum solo of “You and I,” from their third album Hummingbird created a suspenseful opening to the lyrics bringing with them applause from the crowd. “Darker Days,” their most popular song to date did not disappoint. Opening and closing the show with songs from Gorilla Manor, “Wide Eyes” was the chosen encore. Four albums later and it’s clear that Local Natives is still as relevant as ever.

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