Local Natives was back in The District recenlty for two nights at 9:30 Club, and the indie band was here to celebrate. Not only are they celebrating their 2023 release, Time Will Wait for No One, but also the 10th anniversary of their sophomore record, Hummingbird.
Supported by their opener, Annika Bennett, the band played a packed first night and sold out the second.
Hailing from Orange County, California, members Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayerl, Ryan Hahn Matthew Frazier, and Nik Ewing brought the perfect balance of new tracks, a few never played live and others that they hadn’t played since Hummingbird’s release in 2013, on the first 9:30 Club night, August 24.
They wasted no time, as Rice, Hahn, and Ayerl gathered around a singular mic front and center at the beginning of their set for their stripped-back intro, “Time Will Wait For No One.” Under one spotlight, the crowd remained silent for the duration of the prologue. Much like the 34 minute record, the first track, at only a minute and a half, is short and to the point while making you eager for more.
Stream Time Will Wait For No One by Local Natives on Spotify:
Gears quickly shifted, as Ayerl, Frazier, Rice and Ewing began playing their instruments and Hahn took the first verse of “Just Before the Morning” after the group sang the intro.
The show was just as intimate as it was fast-paced. As they transitioned to the Hummingbird portion of the set, the band shared anecdotes from the writing process — a writing trip to Joshua Tree, a *different kind* of trip gone wrong, resulting in Ayerl ill in the ER after taking hallucinogenic substances and eventually the birth of their song, “Black Spot” over 10 years ago. They hadn’t played it in a decade.
“I’m alive! We turned it into a piece of music, in turn,” Ayerl exclaimed before they began the ballad and he took the main vocals.
During “Featherweight”, one of the song’s first performances ever, Ayerl walked into the center of the crowd, locking eyes and holding hands with the audience.
And yes- he made real eye contact, not staring at phones. One of the most notable parts of the night to me wasn’t the energetic set or bedroom-pop opener, but how connected the crowd was. I was surprised to see less phones than most shows I have been to in the past.
The band also spoke about recently being on the Song Exploder podcast on August 2, and how large of a milestone it was for the group. Not only was this tour a spotlight for Time Will Wait for No One, it was a cumulative celebration of their 14-year career thus far.
Before Local Natives took the stage, their opener, Annika Bennett, brought warm, nostalgic, and intimate vibes with her songs and listening to her felt like catching up with an old friend.
The 26-year-old’s sound proved itself to be a blend of indie-pop and bedroom-pop as she played coming-of-age songs that spoke of relatable young adult topics like impostor syndrome and breakups. She played her most-streamed ballad, “Boy Who Has Everything,” and songs from her new EP, madwoman.
Watch Annika Bennett perform “Boy Who Has Everything” live for Nashville Today via YouTube:
A cover of Caroline Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” got the audience especially engaged and singing along for Bennett’s own rendition of the 2019 hit. Bennett switched off between acoustic and electric guitar, and was occasionally accompanied by Noah D’Ambrosi on drums.
Local Native’s back-to-back shows may be over, but It may be sooner than four years before we see Local Natives in the DMV again. Fans rejoiced to hear the band hint that new music is already on the way.
Time Will Wait For No One
Just Before The Morning
I Saw You Close Your Eyes
// 10 year Hummingbird Anniversary Section
Wooly Mammoth //
Who Knows, Who Cares
Here are more photos of Local Natives and Annika Bennet performing at the 9:30 Club on August 24, 2023. All photos copyright and courtesy of Sami Pye.