As i started to work on this review, i noticed an interesting coincidence: the last time headliner Lucius played The EARL they were opening for Milo Greene on Thursday 18 October 2012, meaning that this show was 366 days after i last saw them. Meaning that Lucius are, more or less, on a one year song-writing / touring schedule.
This show was at the beginning of a new tour promoting the material on their debut LP Wildewoman, which was released a few days before this show. That is not really long enough for anyone to absorb the new material, but i guess they wanted to get it out there in front of the fans and stick to their yearly schedule. You gotta admire that kind of drive...
But before i get to the latest Lucius performance, i want to talk about the opener, Hey Marseilles. They were already on stage when we arrived at The EARL at 10 PM, and i swear that i thought we walked in on a Waterboys cover band. Hey Marseilles had a drummer, an electric guitarist, and a vocalist with an acoustic guitar, but they also had an accordionist (who later added some keyboards), a cellist (who also added some bass at later points), and a violinist. Not your standard rock band format, and the fast waltz they were sawing through as we walked in reminded me of something off of Fisherman's Blues.
They played a similar sort of song, and at this point i realized that it was the rich voice of the singer that really projected the Celticness of the band. In fact, as he sang i was convinced he had a hint of brogue in that vague way that accents come across when singing. Until, that is, he talked to the crowd while the rest of the band shuffled instruments. Introducing the band as being from Seattle, he had a neutral American accent. Huh.
Not an actual Irish person.
At any rate, i stood and watched Hey Marseilles play for about 20 minutes, enjoying their brand of lush string pop. It was not particularly challenging, but it was well done and rather pretty.
The band was off stage by 10:30, and at 11 Lucius took the stage. I nagged The EARL for years about starting shows at reasonable times, and i am glad to learn that they are now trying to move things along. Thank you, EARL.
Lucius are a 5-piece band with a strange stage arrangement. There is a guitarist in the back corner of the stage, where the drum riser usually sits. In front of him are two keyboard/vocal setups placed facing each other, so that the two singers have to twist their heads to the side to look out at the crowd. A drummer sits next to the smaller of the two singers, at stage left, while a second guitarist who has a floor tom and some other percussiony things is at stage right next to the taller singer.
Tonight, both of the singers wore a kind of old-fashioned frock dress with a lace collar. I found their clothing synchronization to be odd, but my buddy Minos (who accompanied me to this show) pointed out that the clothing choice was "purposely frumpy", as if the two vocalists in Lucius were trying to make some point about the sexualization of female musicians in our society. Perhaps they were ... and yet, the frumpy dresses were also cut high, like a mini-skirt for Amish teenagers. So i dunno.
What one person calls "purposely frumpy", another person calls "modest".
However, just now i have been looking at some pictures of Lucius on the Internet and i am becoming creeped out by these two girls. One, the shorter of the two, is named Jess Wolfe, while the taller girl is named Holly Laessig. When i saw them a year ago, Wolfe had darkish hair while Laessig was blond. However, this time they had the same haircut, including a dye job. And they wore identical dresses... And when you flip through a Google Image Search of the band, these two women dress the same all the time...
They sing harmony and play keyboards together. And they dress alike. And have the same haircut. And in several of the pictures Wolfe's swarthiness and Laessig's Nordic complexion are blended together so that they look like clones.
Creepy. I do not know what to make of this, but looking at a bunch of the photos at once is weird. It seems a little off, but i guess it is just a shtick they do for their band.
Anyway, Lucius played for a little over an hour tonight. They played a few songs i recognized from their debut EP, including a rollicking good rendition of Turn It Around. They played Go Home pretty much as a straight country tune, which Minos thought stood out as odd for their music. Glad I am not the only one who noticed thatů
Attack of the clones?
The stuff off of the new record had a good swing to it, the drums and keys and guitars all surging with a sort of dance rock vibe. Lucius managed to almost fill The EARL. It was a good crowd, but not packed. And they managed to get the whole place swaying along happily. They seem to be moving up in the world, and good for them. The music they make is pleasant and enjoyable. They do put on a fun live show.
I just do not know what to think of the "clone effect" in the vocalists...