Ally Young and Lee Newell are Lovelife. (Photo by author)
Londoners Lovelife played at Living Social headquarters Saturday, bringing a sharp set of tunes in a break from their tour with Capital Cities.
The Speakeasy stage at Living Social turned out to be a good place to see the band, who opened with six songs for Philadelphia-based Vacationer. Not having previously seen a concert at Living Social, I was charmed a bit by the very dark, urban bar space, where you could get a drink on the lower level and look up at the band on a gallery above. Standing on the mezzanine, you could watch the band play standing right next to you and occasionally look down at the bar patrons looking up at you. Lee Newell, Lovelife’s lead singer, did just that with some amusement while singing down to the crowd below during one number.
Lovelife at Bowery Electric, 2012 (courtesy of Lovelife)
Living Social is kicking off an irregular showcase of emerging artists at its F Street headquarters starting Saturday May 4. Normally, I wouldn’t give it a second look but they managed to get something special for their inaugural date with Lovelife, Ghost Beach and Vacationer — a lineup better suited to the Black Cat or at least the Rock and Roll Hotel.
It’s worth mentioning what Living Social say about Lovelife because it’s not quite right. “After a name change and a transatlantic hop from London to Brooklyn, this synthpop act recently dropped new tracks El Regreso and The Fourth Floor.”
Well, our Atlantic-hopping musicians are well worth checking out. And lead singer Lee Newell was fronting a band called Viva Brother in London. But that band didn’t simply change its name and move. Newell met Ally Young, who at the time was in another band called Mirrors. The two really clicked musically, and Young, a bona fide synth genius, left Mirrors to form Lovelife with Newell.
That was really quite too bad, in my personal opinion, as Mirrors were a great synthpop band in the tradition of The Human League or Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. But Young wanted to do something different, and it perhaps more organic and diverse. Lovelife still have a strong synth strain augmented by the capable guitar and drums of Sam Jackson and drummer Frank Colucci, respectively. But the new band has a taste for soul and R&B that permeate its music. While I wouldn’t call it neosoul by any stretch, it’s at the very least soulful synthpop. And well worth a listen — trust me!
Check out “Your New Beloved” from the latest Lovelife EP:
Vacationer, originally from Philadelphia, also are well worth checking out. They last came through DC and played at the Rock and Roll Hotel in January. Before that, I caught them opening for Walk the Moon in June last year. They play sunny, soulful indie pop that wistfully transports you to distant shores, much as their name Vacationer suggests.
The bands are accompanied by Ghost Beach, who will be performing a DJ set.
Lovelife are predicting this show will sell out, so grab a ticket now and don’t miss out on a good show!
w/ Lovelife and Ghost Beach
Saturday, May 4
Doors 7pm; show 8pm $12
918 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Wunderkind DJ Flume brought some good energy and urbane smoothness to a packed U Street Music Hall Wednesday night, pleasing the crowd with R&B-tinged trance-like mixes that got everyone dancing, particularly when mixed up with some effectively frenetic beat-matching to add some spark to the mix.
A good selection of songs put everyone in the mood to relax and shimmy along. Flume wisely chose songs that complement his own, favoring his full-length self-titled debut released last fall. He put the crowd at ease with the very down-tempo “Get Free” by Major Lazer before he cleverly slid into his own “Insane,” featuring a dreamy vocal by Moon Holiday. “Insane” is a pleasing slow jam that opens with some effective minimalism and builds up to a steady pulsating groove, effortlessly putting you at ease despite it’s perhaps threatening refrain of “go insane.”