A strobe light danced intermittently to a drum track over a bare stage. Clad in all black, the four members of pop band Lovelife took the Paradise stage. Keyboardist Ally Young laid down the introductory synthesizer track to “Brave Heart”. When drummer Frank Colucci kicked in, vocalist Lee Newell and guitarist Sam Jackson sang the double vocal harmonies. As the opening act the crowd was somewhat sparse but the band grabbed the audience’s attention.
The band moved right into the dance groove of “Tonight” which also featured a sugary pop hook chorus. The stage remained basically dark with an occasional soft red or blue light mixed in with the white flashing strobe. Despite the small crowd vocalist/front man Newell was personable throughout the brief show.
The synthesizer sound, harmonies and heavy drumbeat remained prevalent through the commercial sounding “I’m No More”. The band’s sound nicely mixes pop vocals over European style dance/club tracks. “Invisible” which featured more of a tribal drumbeat was a nice change of pace.
The abbreviated six-song set closed with “Dying To Start Again” which found the perfect balance of techno, pop and dance music. Although Lovelife’s sound is not necessarily mainstream, their commitment to both song-writing and throwing a stellar performance goes without saying or doubt.
Prior to their opening set slot at the Paradise the four members of Lovelife spent a few minutes answering questions. Band members Lee Newell, Sam Jackson and Frank Colucci were members of the star-crossed, English, pop rock band Viva Brother. In one short year Viva Brother was labeled the” next big thing” by NME, involved in threatened litigation over the band name and after signing with Geffen became the victim of big music label politics. An unforeseen social media backlash sealed Viva Brother’s fate. The three moved to Brooklyn New York where through booking agent Live Nation were introduced to Ally Young. The four musicians then formed Lovelife.
With Viva Brother it seems like you went through in a year what most bands go through in a career?
Lee: We’ve been playing music seriously for ten years. In that band everything was heightened by being under the spotlight that is British media. So that happened and when we met Ally we started a new band saved our money and moved to New York.
So is Lovelife the phoenix rising from the ashes so to speak? Or is it your musicians and you play music regardless of the circumstances?
Lee: It’s a bit of both. We don’t mention previous bands because we are focused on Lovelife and what we’re doing right now.
Ally: Sort of like breaking up with an ex-girlfriend isn’t it? You move on. You don’t regret it or forget it you just move on.
Sam: (laughing) We worship at the temple of the song. You cut it off like a dead leg.
Normally swagger and social media have been helpful to bands, but it backfired on you guys fairly or unfairly?
Lee: Depends on how you look at it. I don’t know what failure and success is anymore in the music world. Records aren’t sold anymore. As long as we’re making it work and playing music we like I think we’re all right.
So the Lovelife website consists of a couple of free downloadable EP’s, is it let the music do the talking?
Ally: We just put the website up with the songs and a few pictures to let people discover it, that’s how we’ve done everything so far. Building it organically to let people judge for themselves as opposed to having people be told its good. We’ve done everything ourselves written and recorded and what to just put them out there.
Frank: The most important thing is that people can get your music and listen to it. We’ll have almost an albums worth of free music for people to pick up once they find out about us. It couldn’t be simpler.
What about the live shows?
Ally: We value the live shows highly. That’s the bread and butter. Seeing a band live is the only thing left that you can’t fake. Everything is so instant with music the live show is the only thing you can’t illegally download.
The music synth/pop is very melodic but the lyrics seem to have more of an edge?
Lee: I’ve written about things that happened to me and I have a lot to write about I suppose. I went through a hard year and a half of your life changing and what you’re doing with it. It was a therapeutic process to get around that.