It appears Lucius’ reasons to celebrate this year are only just beginning.
Minutes after exiting the stage at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn retro-pop quintet Lucius entered the crowd with two mesmerizing female voices, two acoustic guitars and a snare drum. The ensuing performances of “Two of Us on the Run” and an unnamed new song created an outdoorsy, communal sense of wonder, filling the audience with hand claps and raised camera phones that would have been well served with marshmallows on a stick and mosquito repellant.
Whether performing in the crowd or on-stage, Lucius showcased a timeless girl-group and rock-fusing sound and electric presence that belied the fact they had not played songs from their first album, Wildewoman, in five months. The band’s dynamic two-as-one female lead vocals, wailing guitars and all hands on deck percussion combined to illuminate their young catalog in a breathtaking light.
Lucius announced to the sold-out show it had returned to its home city after recording its sophomore album in California. The group debuted two new songs, both exhibiting a state of gorgeous melancholy befitting their references to troubles, worries and loneliness. The new songs were not the source of pre-show anxiety though. The band noted it had practiced its old songs for the first time in months the day before, and admitted to concerns about stage rust.
Their fears proved unfounded from the moment Holly Laessig and Jessica Wolfe, sporting matching haircuts and identical black knee-length dresses with long, flowing sleeves, belted “Go Home” from the same microphone in the stage’s center. The former Berklee School of Music classmates turned away from each other to gaze into the crowd each time they heaved the song’s phrase in unison. Following “Go Home,” Laessig and Wolfe played keyboards and synths, respectively, facing one another. They later shared the same mic again for a haunting cover of The Kinks classic “Strangers”, with its apropos refrain, “We are not two/ We are one.”
At its best, Wildewoman highlights the synthesis of the lead vocalists as a unified front. Even still, the record’s production does not prepare listeners for how staggering this separated-at-birth connection can be live. Nor does it suggest how integral the band’s three male members – drummer Dan Molad, guitarist/drummer Andrew Burri and guitarist Peter Lalish – are in supplying lead percussion, dueling guitars and backing vocals or how the band, as a whole, throws itself into its performances. (The band’s visual aesthetic is also worth noting: its male members wore all-white suits in stark contrast to the all-black worn by Laessig and Wolfe.)
On songs like “Tempest” and “Genevieve” four of the five band members coalesced into a percussive groove, all heads bopping and hair flying, as bespectacled birthday boy Lalish stalked the back of the stage with his electric guitar. During a break in the show, Lalish received a birthday cake with lit candles and a happy birthday serenade from the crowd, as he joked he was now old enough to drink. With an upcoming free show in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell in June, and its sophomore record forthcoming, it appears Lucius’ reasons to celebrate this year are only just beginning.