Lucius – Pearl Street Ballroom, Northampton, MA 12/3/13

It’s been a good year for Lucius. Even before the October release of its acclaimed debut, “Wildewoman,” the Brooklyn based quintet, fronted by look alike singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig had generated a strong buzz. The band’s following is rapidly growing to the point that this show was moved from a small club to this much larger venue to accommodate ticket demand. Anticipation was clearly high and Lucius didn’t disappoint. The group  fully captivated the crowd with its charismatic performance and music that merges propulsive beats with a ‘60s fueled sound.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dressed in matching red dresses and sporting the same shoulder length hairstyle, Laessig and Wolfe stood at keyboards that were positioned directly across from each other. The duo look like a pair of mod twins, but the look isn’t just a gimmick; they have said in interviews that they dress alike to present a visual representation of two voices as one. They started the night off with a languid version of the Beatles “Free as a Bird,” on which their vocals blended together and soared above a fuzzy guitar. They did indeed sound like one voice.  The pair followed with “Don’t Just Sit There,” and once again merged their voices so perfectly that listeners knew that they were experiencing something special.


While the vocals of Wolfe and Laessig are the soul of the Lucius sound; the backing guitars, bass and tom toms provided by Danny Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri, are the source of the band’s complex, layered sound.  The band was clearly having a great time on the percussive “Genevieve” at they   banged away on the floor toms and hand percussion as the crowd moved along to the wild rhythms.

Songs like “Turn it Around” with its irresistible harmonies, hand claps and singable chorus give Lucius a heavy girl group vibe. And while they often look for the past, even utilizing an ‘80s synth-pop sound on  “Tempest,” they are in no way a retro outfit. Songs like “Nothing Ordinary” and the sorrowful “Go Home” sounded remarkably fresh.

The band wrapped up its set with “Wildewoman,”a twangy number on which the pair sang lines like “We will only be bound by the things we choose.” Toward the end of the song, they brought a  little girl identified as Sophie out on stage to bang on one of the toms. Sophie not only charmed the crowd but kept an exceptionally good beat.

Lucius encored with the aforementioned, “Turn it Around,” before leaving their instruments behind and moving out into the crowd. The pair stood on chairs as the crowd closed in around then while they delivered a sublime “Two of Us on the Run.” They ended the night with “Goodbye,” a Paul McCartney tune recorded by Mary Hopkin in 1969.  Judging from the loud cheers, the crowd hated to have the show end, but they can rest assured that Lucius is a band that we will be hearing a lot from in the future.



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