The venue, The O2 Academy Brixton, speaks for itself. Iconic within the British music scene, and for any band or artist, a yard stick for success. If you're booked to headline the South London auditorium, even if only the downstairs level sells out, you're doing something right.

For the fans who have followed their act from small pub gigs and YouTube, it's a milestone. Retribution for the time dedicated to the music and possibly the last before graduating to larger stadiums. While us writers or seasoned gig goers may take it for granted, a short while spent near one of the main doors before Local Natives take to the stage reminds me just how important this place is.

Revellers pile in and are instantly excited by the enormity, cheering and embracing friends like they've conquered Everest as they take it all in. This leads me to reminisce about my first visit when as a vertically challenged teen, getting a glimpse of more than just the backs of those in front of me thanks to the sloped floor and falling in love with how close I felt to the music compared to Wembley Arena where I caught my first ever gig.


There is an almost tangible buzz in the room; can Local Natives step up to the mantle they will now share with the likes of Arcade Fire, The Pixies, The Clash, The Smiths, The Prodigy and Iron Maiden or will this size venue perhaps lose some of their intimate sound?

Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, Ryan Hahn, Matt Frazier and now officially the band's new permanent bassist Nik Ewing take to the stage, which comprises of a simple black backdrop and a several spot lights. Despite five people and their instruments taking up the stage, it feels somewhat empty - but the way in which they use the light does draw the audience in once they open with 'Breakers', the lead single from their latest record, Hummingbird, which was released at the beginning of this year and still in contention for inclusion on end of year lists across the globe.

The crowd are in awe of the five men on stage, with plenty of dancing and singing along to the band's biggest tracks from their two records, as well as a cover of Talking Head's track 'Warning Sign'. Covers can have a habit of losing a crowd, but in the most part Thursday night's throng remain captivated by the American five-piece.


We certainly get our money's worth with an incredibly strong, fifteen song set including the encore which shows why the band have drawn comparisons to peers such as Grizzly Bear and Wild Beasts - and with the newer material being produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, there is no doubting the quintet's Indie credentials.

Towards the show's end, the simplicity of the set makes more sense when starry lights descend from the rafters looking like a series of constellations against the dark back drop. I mean, they could be constellations but my astronomy isn't great (I can kind of make out three sets that look like The Plough).

There was something lacking however, the group's sound didn't quite fill the space as I'd hoped which may have had something to do with the entire balcony level being closed off, or perhaps Brixton is still a little out of the reach of a band who are only on their second album and are yet to establish their sound in bigger venues.

The thought of seeing Local Natives play a slightly more intimate venue such as Shepherds Bush Empire is certainly tantalising, but it's clear to see that they aren't too far away from filling places like Brixton both physically and acoustically.
















With thanks to O2 Academy - check out O2 Academy TV