With the Red’s Opening Day festivities winding down right across the river, I embarked on a night full of music, spirit, and positivity at Madison Theater in Covington, KY.
Thanks to Nederlander Entertainment, Local Natives and Little Scream took to the stage to provide the packed theater with a full range of emotions and sounds.
Little Scream opened the night with the most atmospheric aesthetic, complete with thick bass grooves and compulsively interesting rhythms, kicking the night off in the best way possible.
The band originated from songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laurel Sprengelmeyer. Originally from Iowa, she relocated to Canada and soon became a vital figure in Montreal’s independent music scene. Formally taking the name, “Little Scream”, her music bridges the gap existing between body-shaking rock, and intimate soft spoken folk.
Her most recent album, entitled “Cult Following” skips along a range of melancholy, with periods of intensity surrounded by moments of sincerity, putting an accurate description behind the name Little Scream. Her music breathes; expands and shrinks at the blink of an eye. These dynamics were visually exposed at the Madison Theater, as each song grew in anticipation of a powerful expression at the top of her lungs, but could easily be broken by grabbing hold of the heart with her small whispering voice.
Cult Following features some big names as guest artist/producers, adding to her collective of talented artists to facilitate such a unique sound. Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, Sufjan Stevens, and Sharon Von Etten are a couple giant contributions to her eclectic music. These influences are heard in each song, as they are orchestrated in such a familiar yet fresh way.
As a precursor to the Local Natives, Little Scream delivered much more than anticipated. Seldom do you see an opening act and forget they are the only an appetizer for the main entrée. Little Scream felt more like a five-course meal in itself, and their energy and dynamic capabilities paired like a nice wine to the Local Natives explosive set that followed.
Local Natives, on the other hand, left their hearts on the stage, and even allowed for the audience to pick it up and take it home with them. As performers, the quartet immersed themselves into each and every song. The four-part harmonies came alive perfectly, and it was the closest I’ve ever been to magic happening right in front of my eyes. The band casted spells in their fans, as they soared in and out of rhythm and melody.
Originating from Los Angeles, Local Natives represent their city with their angelic harmonies and intoxicating sonic palette. Experimental rhythms you may have never heard played with such creativity, along with reverberated guitars and synths that occasionally bark with the right flavor of distortion, tied together with the traditional and familiar pop structures that we all know and love.
The band played all of the fans favorite songs, even though their most recent album Sunlit Youth was released only last year. Songs like “Sun Hands” and “Wide Eyes” that brought them initial success on their 2010 debut album Gorilla Manor, the die-hard followers rejoiced as they sang along with every word falling from their lips. “You and I”, “Heavy Feet” and “Breakers” from their second album Hummingbird were also played. Though these songs have a slightly different set of components, they were still accomplished and executed flawlessly according to the record.
When playing their newest record, they were not afraid to give the audience an open-hearted description of where the songs came from. The Natives talked to the audience in an intimate moment, conveying their frustration in the current political climate, but ultimately portraying through their songs and in a small speech that “I think we better listen to these kids,” the chorus of the song from Sunlit Youth. The audience rejoiced at their ability to cross the boundaries between concerned citizen and artist, and make the audience feel like they all can contribute to the future.
And if we don’t care, then who cares.
We’ve been dreaming of you, drinking from fountains of youth.
And if we don’t change, then who’ll change.
We’ve been dreaming of you, drinking from the fountain of youth.”
It was one of the most inspiring moments of any concert I’ve experienced.
The encore featured stage diving, and an unusual cover of the song “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West as the audience raged on like hungry dogs waiting to be fed. The intimacy of The Madison Theater offered the best setting for such an impactful show, feeling like we were all in that small room together. The wall between audience and artist didn’t feel so thick, resulting in a very personal experience.
The band will continue their tour with Little Scream. Until then, be sure to listen to Sunlit Youth as well as Cult Following. Hopefully, this music might change your life the way it has mine.