This past weekend NY’s Native Sun returned to a sold-out homecoming at Union Pool. The last gig I covered for Sun was for the release of their EP, Off With Our Heads (Grand Jury Music) back in October (see pics). Since then they played a number of shows up and down the east coast which culminated in some blistering sets at this year’s SXSW festival.
The night kicked off with Flossing, the brilliant solo act from Heather Elle, who once played bass with both The Wants and BODEGA and who is now also a member of Weeping Icon. Elle, front and center in Flossing, has a commanding presence and had a great set that featured songs from the debut EP, Queen of the Mall.
Following Flossing was Activity (which features FTA contributing photographer Bri DiGioia on bass) who replaced Thus Love on the bill after an unfortunate accident. And while Thus was missed, Activity delivered a solid set that featured tracks from their critically acclaimed debut album, Unmask Whoever. That album came out right around the time shows were being cancelled in 2020 followed by the then all-out lockdown so it was great to hear and experience these songs live.
By the time Native Sun took the stage, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. And who better than Sun to take that energy and push it over the edge. From the moment front man Danny Gomez, bassist Justin Barry, guitarist Rob Guariglia, and drummer Nico Espinosa took the stage, the crowd was ready to pounce. They had played last fall at Elsewhere on an amazing bill with French stoner-rock band Slift (coverage can be found here) to a much bigger room, but it’s these smaller rooms where you really get the experience. Where the line between band and audience blurs and you wind up with Gomez out on the floor while a crowd surfer passes him on their way to the stage.
Set-wise it was a mix of old favorites “There’s Revolution,” “Big Succ(ess),” “Jesus,” “Off the Dial,” and “Juarez” along with new jams “Strawberry Cough,” “When She” and “Called the Doctor” from Off With Our Heads. Speaking of Heads, the EP is now available on Native Sun’s Bandcamp page, from streaming to vinyl to limited edition cassette. And make sure to catch these guys at these small intimate gigs while you can.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)