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Mamby on the Beach storms the Chicago shore with head­liner Lo­cal Na­tives

If you fol­lowed the #fyrefes­ti­val de­ba­cle in late April (a luxe mu­sic fest that de­volved into “Rich Kids of In­sta­gram” meets “Lord of the Flies”), you know that beach­side bashes can go belly up fast— es­pe­cially when they are un­proven star­tups. Thank­fully, Chicago’s Mamby on the Beach has a track record for de­liv­er­ing en­er­getic per­for­mances from big-name indie bands, rather than “Hunger Games”style drama. Now in its third year, Mamby is big­ger than ever, boast­ing the Los Angeles-based rock band Lo­cal Na­tives (hailed as the next Ar­cade Fire) as this year’s head­liner.

We caught up with Lo­cal Na­tives singer and key­boardist Kel­cey Ayer right be­fore he took the main­stage at Coachella with his four band mates (Tay­lor Rice, Ryan Hahn, Matt Fra­zier and Nik Ewing). “I didn’t re­al­ize how huge Coachella has got­ten,” says Ayer. “It’s a lot dif­fer­ent than [when we started].” To be fair, a lot has changed since the band was still break­ing through in 2009: Coachella was in its in­fancy, Mamby wasn’t even a thought, and Lo­cal Na­tives was play­ing bars and pubs for au­di­ences of five.

But that’s all changed, partly thanks to Chicago, where lo­cal crowds were quick to spot the band’s tal­ent. “I re­mem­ber those shows be­ing a lit­tle rowdy,” laughs Ayer, re­call­ing the band’s days play­ing Chicago venues like Schuba’s. They rapidly be­came a Windy City fa­vorite, with gigs around town and at the city’s mas­sive Lol­la­palooza fes­ti­val in 2016. On June 24, they’re back for Mamby on the Beach, and they are promis­ing to bring the heat—and some new tunes. “For fes­ti­vals we lean more on the en­er­getic side, ‘cause, you know, we’re com­pet­ing with Lady Gaga, so what are we go­ing to do?” Ayer ex­plains. He also teases that the band will drop a sin­gle in late May dubbed, “The Only Heirs,” and pro­duced by Chicagoan Don­nie Trum­pet (a reg­u­lar col­lab­o­ra­tor with Chance the Rap­per).

With Lo­cal Na­tives lead­ing the charge and a ros­ter of other stel­lar per­form­ers like Mis­ter­wives, Mamby is poised to de­liver the ul­ti­mate sum­mer ex­pe­ri­ence: a vi­brant—though at times unapolo­get­i­cally hip­ster (there’s free sex­u­al­ity work­shop and a silent disco)—mu­sic fest all set in front of a stunning Chicago view. Eat your heart out, #fyrefes­ti­val.

June 24-25. Tick­ets start at $66.50. Oak­wood Beach, 3050 S. Moe Dr., mam­by­beach.com

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