Best of SXSW 2014: Lucius

Lucius, performing in real time! (Credit: Pat Healy)
Lucius, performing in real time! (Credit: Pat Healy)

Yes, I know I wrote about Lucius in my Day One diary, which you should totally check out here, but I also know that not everybody has time to read a 3,000-word missive on the day in the life of a music journalist at the SXSW Music Conference.

When I first watched Lucius on Wednesday night, I arrived at the venue just as they were experiencing some sort of technical difficulty. There’s something to be said for technical difficulties though. Sometimes they can create a perfect tension that will be shattered by the right song when the band is back up and running.

This is exactly the case as Lucius play “Go Home,” one of the standout tracks from their debut EP. Their harmonies are perfect and an over-the-top slide guitar brings just the right amount of menacing.

Mission accomplished in seeing some truly heart-raising music, so at this point I left to try to catch St. Vincent’s set. But I felt a certain emptiness missing the remainder of the Lucius, so I made note to watch another one at some point in the SXSW week.

In fact, as I’m writing, I’m doing just that at the Austin Convention Center. They have seats and wifi set up and I’m writing in real time. I feel pretty dorky about this, so I’m going to post this sucker and watch the rest of their set.

They’re really a perfect band though. The two women who lead Lucius weave almost folky adult contemporary like harmonies together, but the band behind them absolutely rock. It’s a combination that you might not think would work, but it does. Every member of the band has a drum or percussive instrument in front of them in addition to their main instruments, and leaders Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig also have keyboards they play as they sing. The pair wear matching outfits and face each other, occasionally making eye contact and smiling at one another as they sing, as if to acknowledge to one another, “Woah, we’re in the middle of this awesome song together right now, aren’t we?” And when the moment moves them, they jump around with such spirit that it almost feels like the melodies they’re releasing are propelling them. Plus, their bangs are adorable!

Here’s them playing my favorite song.

OK, they’re saying this is their last song. I’m going to hit “publish” now and hope they don’t pull a Gaga and have somebody throw up on them. I’d hate to have to revise this.


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