Jun 19, 2013

Wexner Center for the Arts brings lineup of the summer to The LC

This past Saturday, the Wexner Center for the Arts curated what RethinkPopMusic is calling the most impressive lineup of the Columbus concert season, thus far of course.  Appropriately, this Father’s Day Eve lineup epitomized pioneering musical influences the likes of (insert critically acclaimed band from the late 60s) without ever sounding derivative.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

At the risk of sounding cliche, the biggest surprise and delight of the evening was South Carolina band Mount Moriah.

The band launched into its early set with an earnest energy that never ebbed, the core of which undoubtably is vocalist and guitarist Heather McEntire.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

The influences here are unmistakable. McEntire’s delivery blends a southern drawl with a little rock bite; a little Dar Williams, a little Patty Smith. Even as the opener for the opener of the show, Mount Moriah had no problem energizing the LC crowd. By the end of the set, casual onlookers were true believers.

As Local Natives took the stage, so the influences behind the music changed. Edginess gave way to ambience, and influences turned more sublime. Soon the LC was awash in Brian Wilson vocal textures and rich atmospheric guitar and keyboard sounds.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

But the energy certainly remained. Local Natives’ live sound takes on a more driving persona than its somewhat banal radio counterpart. The performance was punchy, encased in swirling percussion and tempo changes. It was a great foundation for all of the signature sounds that Local Natives have crafted to near-perfection. These are not so much songs as miniature soundscapes, where hooks and riffs are nearly absent.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

If there is one complaint to be made it’s that Local Natives might be victims of their own break with traditional songwriting. What they do well, they keep doing well, albeit it again and again and again.

By comparison, The National avoids this trap. The National primed the LC crowd by projecting a live feed from the green room onto the stage; dovetailing into a live stage show nothing short of psychodelic.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

The National’s sound easily evokes shades of Bauhaus, The Fixx and Psychedelic Furs while fleshing out its own signature sound. Combining the sounds of seven band members while keeping the music clear and meticulous is an often insurmountable task especially in the massive open aired space of The LC.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

The music was as rich and ambient as that of Local Natives, but never fell into the trap of monotony. There is, in addition to richness in texture, a richness in structure and the songwriting of Matt Berninger that defines them as a headliner… an influence that could serve the other bands on the bill quite well.

The National, Local Natives, Mount Moriah @ LC Pavillion, 6/15/2013

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