Local Natives at the Orange Peel in Asheville

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Local Natives came through Asheville last night at the Orange Peel playing a lengthy set featuring most of the new album Violet Street. Local Natives are a band I could see breaking through in a major way like The Black Keys and Tame Impala. It’s easy to picture them playing areas and much larger venues, especially with numerous sing a long ready songs already in their repertoire. This was the fourth time I’ve seen them, twice at a free festival in Nashville and once at the Ryman in Nashville. We can throw out the crowd size on the free performances but the Ryman is a lot bigger than the Orange Peel, so they are already capable of drawing a lot more people.

Last night was the most people I’ve seen at the Orange Peel and I was more on the side of the stage and then later to the back. Not being in the center I did hear some echos in the sound so my time seeing them at the Ryman remains the best sounding I’ve heard them.

Things began with opening band The Gloomies, they performed without a drummer but with a track playing their drum parts. Hopefully this isn’t becoming a trend, as this is at least the fourth performance I’ve seen in 2019 that was only partially live. It’s just not as good of an experience as a fan, period.

Local Natives had their full band as usual and came out to Vogue the opener on Violet Street before going right into Sun Hands, a big change in their setlist as they’ve always closed with it in the past. Throughout the set we’d get to hear everything from the new album except the last song Tap Dancer (and Munich II, which isn’t really a whole song).

The band sounds good together live, especially the harmonized singing which they easily pull off. One huge plus on Local Natives albums is the lack of any autotune. It sounds a lot less good when a drunk person in the crowd loudly attempts to join the harmony but I guess that’s still better than people yelling inane conversations at each other next to you as sometimes happens.

Aside from the new material there is, of course, plenty of gold in the Local Natives catalog to choose from and we heard highlights like Past Lives, You & I, Wide Eyes, and Breakers. Current hit When I Am Going to Lose You was before the fake encore break. They returned to fellow new song Shy before playing my personal favorite and choice for their best song Columbia. As a non-single from two albums ago I was glad to see it get such a prominent place in the set. Hopefully that means it will continue to get played in the future. They then ended with Who Knows, Who Cares which is a good song but not one I would have thought would have been the closer. It got a great reaction from the crowd though, so the band knew what they were doing. Their new material is as strong as the old and with four albums now it’s a great time to go see them.

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