Smile Politely

(Almost) local Native

Despite hailing from the Northwestern region of Indiana, for frenetic math-rockers Native, Champaign-Urbana holds an important key to the beginning of the youthful band’s story.  “We actually played our first show ever in Urbana at the 707 house,” shares guitarist Ed O’Neill, citing, in turn, a friendship with former local act Oceans. Since that first concert, Native has returned to C-U multiple times, maintaining local friendships and celebrating an appreciation for all things Midwest. “Without the Midwest, we would be nothing. I don’t want to say that this sense of community doesn’t exist in pockets all over the country, but this is the community that helped us get where we are today,” O’Neill shared.

This ever-present sense of community has seen Native gain fans across the country on tour with the likes of Michigan post-hardcore act La Dispute and in showcases with Sargent House label mates like Good Old War and Fang Island.

Though Native’s latest work, Wrestling Moves, was officially released digitally on October 30, 2009 via the Sargent House label, the album wasn’t made available on CD or on more mainstream digital outlets like iTunes until January 26, 2010. The album is a departure from earlier work We Delete; Erase if only in the sense of cleaner production tactics and the sound of a band that has not only matured musically, but strengthened its own personal presence through time and multiple bouts of touring.

Although it may be more common to find the band amongst the crowded basements and living rooms of places like 707 or Chicago’s Summer Camp, Native is prepared for the outdoor setting of Saturday’s performance in Mike ‘n’ Molly’s beer garden. O’Neill notes the obvious differences between the atmospheres of alcohol and seating and sweaty, raucous twenty-somethings, but exclaims in jest, “Hey, it’s always nice when you can actually see the bands!”

Following the always-active band’s performance in C-U, Native looks forward to spending the summer touring with Oxford’s This Town Needs Guns on a run that, for Native, was booked by an outside force for the first time (Zach of High Roads Touring).  “I’m not going to lie, it was nice to not have to book the tour ourselves,” O’Neill said, “gives us more time for shows like this.”

Check out Native at Mike n’ Molly’s on Saturday, April 24 with locals Hot Cops!, Washington, Illinois’ Derrick Hart and Peoria’s Trip Light Fantastic. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the beer garden (weather pending) and will only set you back $5.

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