Live Review – The Native at Signature Brew Haggerston

Words: Benns Borgese | Photography: George Segrove

The first time I saw The Native live was in April of 2022 as they opened for British band Bastille on their Give Me The Future Tour. Now, a little over a year later, the Plymouth – forgive the pun ­– native five-piece are on their third London headline show, with a European tour starting this very week on May 27th.

Be it the anticipation of a good night, the excitement that only a summer-like evening warmth can bring, or both, Signature Brew Haggerston is looking as lively as ever. Groups of people sip on their drinks both inside and outside of the intimate taproom off Regent’s Canal, ready for the latest edition of Radio X’s John Kennedy’s The Remedy. On stage, Manchester-based band Rosellas are successfully warming up the crowd with a set that leaves you, if you like me are an unfamiliar listener, wanting to hear more. Members of The Native – Charlie, Ben, Fergus, Harry, and Tom – can be seen hanging amongst the crowd, showing support to the northern five-piece and chatting with friends as they typically do before their set. It’s this sense of community and acquaintanceship that characterises The Native’s shows, a feeling that permeates the air for the rest of this very night too.

Set opener is ‘Tramlines’, The Native’s upcoming single set to be released on a yet-to-be-disclosed date in June. A fresh take on the band’s signature sound, the track charms the crowd and sets the tone for the next hour: a frenzy of singing, dancing, and good energy all around.

Nearly crammed on the venue’s compact stage, The Native lads welcome the audience into a bubble of their own, a chemistry that shines through at its best whenever they tap into an interlude. Captivating and energetic, The Native’s group dynamic is what proves to be one of their strongest assets, a vibrancy that takes over no matter how intimidatingly wide or small their audience may be.

Amongst classic set tunes like ‘Call Me Out’, ‘Looking Back’, Changes, and ‘Time’, the band debuted two more new songs. Both ‘Every Last Goodbye’ and ‘All We’ll Ever Be’ were met with enthusiasm by the crowd, an easily understandable reaction given the unapologetically The-Native-like nature of each track. Just like ‘Tramlines’, the two manage to nod to the band’s catalogue whilst bringing a The Native 2.0 kind of energy into the room.

By the time they reach ‘Blindside’, the last song of the night, the crowd needs no further encouragement from the band: clapping to the beat, singing, and dancing along, the show ends on a high as no one appears to want to leave. Band included, as all five members are found walking around Signature Brew, embracing the convivial energy that pervades their shows whilst they share drinks, chats, and cigarettes until curfew reminds all attendees that it’s time to call it a night.

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