Despite it still being incredibly hot pretty much everywhere in America (and the Northern Hemisphere), the summer is winding down. This includes summer band tours, where a group takes their new record on the road to play outdoor venues & festivals. Los Angeles’ Local Natives ended their summer tour leg of this year’s Time Will Wait For No One (QRO review) on Tuesday, August 29th at New York City’s The Rooftop at Pier 17 (QRO venue review).
It had been a hot day (aren’t they all at this point?…), but a nice night, cooling off enough to enjoy The Rooftop at Pier 17. Located right by South Street Seaport (QRO venue review), it’s an actual rooftop where one can see the East River, with Brooklyn Bridge right behind the band. And an upscale spot, whether you’re talking about the big screens at the sides of the stage to better see the band, or the drink prices. But at this point in their career, the smooth alt-folk Local Natives have an upscale crowd, aughts hipsters who’ve moved forward in their lives & their own careers, including some girls nights out and quite a few couples.
And Local Natives know all about couples, as guitarist Ryan Hon had recently gotten married, mentioned because that meant that the rest of the band had served as his wedding band, where they had to learn everything from Oasis to Bee-Gees to even a new song he brought to them, Time’s “NYE” (it was later specifically noted that Hon writes a lot of the songs, “A lot of people don’t know that”). That was the third of three strong Time songs to open up the evening, after the title track and “Just Before the Morning”. Touring behind that record meant that it would be the focus of the evening, but with five full-lengths now, the group didn’t skimp on older material.
For instance, the boys brought out opener Annika Bennett to join them on a duet they “don’t get to play much”, “Lemon” (from 2020’s Sour Lemon EP) – though the performance was initially marred by someone in the crowd near the front needing assistance. As a fan remarked, this seems to be happening more & more these days at shows, for everyone is more aware of people in need of assistance, and particularly musicians are not only more aware, but more willing & allowed to stop a show to make sure someone they see in distress gets the help they need. It can be a bit annoying, particularly when you’re at a laid-back show with little danger (this wasn’t Astroworld…), but Local Natives charmingly pulled off their return to “Lemon”, restarting at Bennett’s chorus so it wasn’t missed.
Singer/guitarist Taylor Rice noted that this was the end of this leg of Time’s tour, but promised to also play some old songs, such as “Airplanes” from 2009 debut Gorilla Manor. Also noted was that this was the tenth anniversary of 2013 sophomore album Hummingbird (QRO review), which had been made right there in New York City (produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, who’d go on to also produce other up-and-comers such as Taylor Swift…), and the played it’s “You & I” and “rarity” “Bowery”.
There is an idea that Local Natives are all sweet relax, great for older couples but not the most electric in-person. And yes, there were phones lit up & swaying to Time’s great “Ava” (which does reference being “On the beach in tennis shoes”), but for Time’s “Featherweight”, Rice went into the crowd. And on their big encore finish single “When Am I Gonna Lose You” (from 2016’s Violet Street – QRO review), Rice not only went into the crowd, but full-on crowd-surfed – which might not actually be a rarity at Local Natives shows, but probably is at The Rooftop at Pier 17.
The calendar says that summer’s ending even if the thermostat doesn’t, with kids going back to school even if we don’t have new fall TV series thanks to the AMPTP. It was great to have one more night out, with Local Natives.