Tonight, as a part of the ongoing Fusebox Festival, Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend will be performing 3 songs at 2 performances with the Tosca String Quartet. The show takes place at the Alamo Ritz downtown, and show times are 7:00pm and 9:45pm. Tickets are $19 online, you can get ’em here.
In very early 2009, I was standing outside of the Beauty Bar in downtown Austin, Texas with my friend Eric, leaning up against the fence on a Wednesday night, trying to figure out what to do. There were grunts and groans from instruments coming out of the door to the venue, but other than a presumable sound check, there appeared to be nobody in the place, so Eric and I were prepared to find a different haunt. Just as we were deciding which street to wander down, a group of scraggly, rowdy guys came bursting through the Beauty Bar door, and the tallest shouted, “It’s time to find people to come to this show!!” This caused me to turn, and the tall dude saw me and asked, “Do you guys wanna see a show? It’s great!” I asked him who was playing, and he said, “Well, we’re in a band called Voxhaul Broadcast, and we’re playing with the Union Line, which is the band these guys here are in, and then the Local Natives are setting up right now, they go on in about half an hour.” I looked at Eric, we shrugged and said, “Sure!” I asked where the guys were from, and they said California. I nodded, and we promised the guys we’d head inside. About fifteen minutes later, we wandered in to join maybe 3 other people in the room. When the Local Natives began to play, it felt like it was for us and the bartenders. I remember being immediately drawn to “Airplanes,” and I remember the energy infused in “Sun Hands.” I became a total advocate that night, and was sorely disappointed to discover this Silverlake gem hadn’t recorded a full album yet, but I bought their split 7” that had “Airplanes” on one side, a Union Line song on the other. I chatted with their sweet drummer Matt, who informed me they’d be back for South by Southwest a few months later.
Flash forward to April 23, 2010. I arrive at Antone’s on 5th street at 10 p.m. to a line snaking around the venue. Doors opened a few moments later, and we masses poured into the building, trying to stake out space close to the stage. By the time the Local Natives took the stage a little over an hour later, bodies filled every inch of space, jostling into one another, stepping on toes and craning necks to see over the forest of people around them. The band still sound checked themselves, exemplifying the strange space this band lives in – huge and completely deserved success garnered at a stupefying breakneck speed. Of course, the band has been working for years (previously with a slightly different lineup under the moniker Cavil At Rest.) They played through their entire album; yep, they now have a full-length album out on their label, Frenchkiss, called Gorilla Manor. Highlights included the sultry “Cards & Quarters,” with a completely jammable beat, the soaring harmonies in “Airplanes” which led to a solid three minutes of audience applause as the gentlemen of the band stood in complete awe, with the biggest grins on their faces and practically shaking their heads in disbelief, and the night’s encore and closer, “Sun Hands,” which exploded in rock and prompted some (read: me) to leap up and down in a rapturous state of mosh.
I was completely lucky to stumble upon this band over a year ago, and could not be happier for them in all of the success they’ve experienced in such a short time. If you’ve yet to join the Local Natives fan base, but you like sweeping melodies, thumping rhythms, rich harmonies and Talking Heads covers, don’t waste another second – become a part of their incredible success story. Just walk through the door.
It’s been a while, dear readers, and for that – I’m sorry. But TONIGHT, there is so much goodness happening across town that there is no excuse not to catch some incredible music!
Royal Forest are releasing their fantastic EP tonight at Emo’s (10 days before that ish hits shelves). Lots of local goodness to be heard at this show.
Yeasayer play night one of their two night stand at La Zona Rosa (moved from the Parish) tonight. They’ll also be DJing afterward at Lamberts.