Coming off the release of their debut album, Wildewoman, Lucius – the infectious Brooklyn-based quintet – kicked off their North American tour with a sold out performance at the Rock N’ Roll Hotel last night.
The group opened with a fantastic cover of John Lennon’s Free As A Bird featuring a strong guitar backbone and the amazing vocal harmonies of lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The ladies were rocking their signature 60s style with blunt bang, fierce bobs and lime green, shoulder pad heavy jackets. The entire performance Wolfe and Laessig faced each other surrounded by their keyboards, random percussion toys (Cowbells!) and encircled by the all black wearing lads. The group was on their feet the entire performance giving the room an immediate sense of energy and engagement.
What I find particularly lovely about this band is the lack of a bass player. Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some solid, heart vibrating bass, but I’m a drummer at heart and Lucius has swapped a traditional bass player for two drummers who play both in unison and in contrast to each other. The ladies contribute with their accomplished keyboard playing which keeps the band in time and gives the drums the freedom they oh so need to pump up the energy and life of the songs and show.
As expected the ladies were en pointe with perfectly timed vocals and echoing harmonies, which manage to sound complete as a set while also maintaining the individuality of each. The group’s style is varied from track to track but they stay close to their traditional mix of classic rock with heavy 60s pop influences and blue grass/mountain lullabies. Unlike some groups today, Lucius’ lyrics are thoughtful, meaningful and weighty and the ladies vocal talents bring them front and center with impeccable style.
The set lasted a little over an hour and for their first tour performance was remarkable. Particular highlights for me were the tracks Two of Us on the Run, Genevieve, Nothing Ordinary and the last track on their new album How Loud Your Heart Gets.
If you missed Lucius, you can get a feel for them live with their NPR Tiny Desk concert. But fear not, this group will definitely be back in DC at some point in time, so keep your ears to the ground cause they’re going places and are a great group to see live.