Indie-pop five-piece Lucius are on fire, possibly helped by the fact that they’re one of the most grateful bands in the music industry. They’re currently touring their debut album Wildewoman, spreading the word along the way that they’ve already made a start on its follow up.
We caught up with Lucius when they stopped by the Islington Assembly Hall, witnessing the anticipation burst from the crowd into the venue’s vast ventricle before the first beat was even struck. It happened at the moment matching frontwomen – Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig – stormed the stage in shocking red, in front of multi-intrumentalist bandmates Andrew Burri, Peter Lalish and Dan Molad, dressed in black, positioned between silver, glittering portions of drumkit. Perfectly symmetrical.
Opening with “Genevieve” and then “Tempest” (bellowing ‘”you ain’t riding on this wave alone”) Jess and Holly’s vocals were stunningly powerful. For anyone seeing the Brooklyn band for the first time live, their sound finally makes sense… when making music, Lucius are not only sharing the stage, but one collective brain.
The dynamic performance was softened by “Don’t Just Sit There”, and chased with the prominent title-track “Wildewoman”, which was really well received.
The peak of the show was signalled by the knocking rhythm and gritty guitars of “Nothing Ordinary”, a breathtaking highlight. Whilst at the show’s summit, the ladies in red side-stepped to their characteristic double-sided mic for a moment of lofty tranquillity, with a harmonic cover of My Morning Jacket’s “Wonderful”, before yelling from the mountain-tops the inspirational lines of “Until We Get There” (“Everybody’s gotta get there somehow/And I won’t wait another day”) They revealed that crystal sound that had the intensity to carry the state-side band across the Atlantic to this strong and fast-growing UK fanbase.
Lucius crowned the set with “Turn It Around”, featuring a fun disco twist, but what came next was something truly special. Leaving the stage, the full five-piece delivered a double encore shoulder-to-shoulder in the centre of the crowd, finishing with “Two Of Us On The Run”, and their signature cover of The Kinks ‘Strangers’.
But it doesn’t stop here… Jess and Holly confirmed that they’ll be recording again in February; with the hope of releasing album number two this time next year!
In conversation with co-frontwoman Holly Laessig, Sammy Brough learned a little bit more about what playing a gig in London is like, from the band’s point of view….
BS: Firstly, how was the Islington Assembly Hall show for you?
HL: “We had a sold out room for only our third time ever in London, and it’s just such an honour… it’s crazy you know? We were pinching ourselves because just last November we were at the Shaklewell Arms which is like 150 people…
SB: A real highlight of the show was Nothing Ordinary, but what was your favourite part?
HL: [Laughs] “That’s one of my favourites to perform for sure! But we always try to come out into the crowd if we can – it’s just our kind of time to have that intimacy with the audience and let them know how special it is for us, it’s so meaningful that people are there singing our songs. It’s mind-boggling to me! We’re just so grateful, I mean it! We’re just so happy!”
SB: It really was a very grand performance, it really reflected the venue…
HL: “Thank you so much! It’s a beautiful room and it’s reminded me of a couple of rooms in the US, a kind of converted old theatre into a rock club. It was really cool, with the balcony up top, and a big spacious room, it felt very grand. We’re still newcomers to Europe so a lot of the places on our tour are smaller, it varies, but we’re always surprised at the way each culture puts on a show. Every time we’ve been to London it’s been such an engaging wonderful crowd, so we’re always glad to come back.”
SB: What’s your favourite place to play?
HL: “My favourite places to play are ones that are the least expected. It’s really all about the audience and the energy in the room, and the overall vibe. Our first time in London was cool because it was this grungy place… [Shacklewell Arms] it was our first time there and it was a packed house, you couldn’t hardly breathe, but the energy was so magnetic. But just going to a new country and having an entirely new audience, sometimes it just surprises us, it’s an emotional experience. It’s always the ones that come up on you when you least expect it – that’s my favourite experience.”
SB: Do you have any music inspired by Europe or London?
HL: “There’s definitely some new stuff coming that has come from our experience travelling abroad, being away from home, and being in a new place and culture… It’s hard not to be struck by what’s going on around you, we’re grateful for that…. and voice memos!”
SB: After the show when you go out to the merch stand, what’s it like to meet everyone who came to your show?
HL: “Ha ha sometimes it’s overwhelming! But the true the reason that we go out there is because we want to show how much we appreciate the crowd. It’s nice to see and meet people; we’ve made so many friends along the way doing it!”
SB: Now for a question based on the start of one of your music videos… do you see yourselves kind of as twins, or more as a reflection of each other, or neither?
HL: “I think it’s more of a reflection. I think that it’s one of those things that, when we happened upon our voices working the way to they do together, because it was so organic and immediate, we just built from that, so, yeah, I think it is a reflection. We’re such different people individually but there is this unbreakable bond there, both musically and otherwise, and I think that having a visual representation of that connects you immediately, so it’s easier to dive in.”
In case you were wondering, here is THAT video.
SB: If you could rate last night’s gig out of 10, what would you give it?
HL: “Oh, I can’t do that [laughs] I’m biased! That would be unfair. And also my experience on stage is always gonna be different from the experience off stage. And I don’t see everything the way everybody else sees it, and that’s part of the magic of making and sharing music. That’s the beauty of it.”
Lucius are touring with support act Lapland for a little longer yet, before they join Jack White at the 02 Arena in November! Check out the rest of their dates below:
- 1 Ebullition, Bulle, CH
- 2 Circo Magnolia, Milan, IT
- 3 Atomic Cafe, Munchen, DE
- 5 tretch, NL [SOLD OUT]
- 6 Blue Shell, Koln, DE
- 7 Magnet, Berlin, DE
- 8 La Laiterie, Strasbourg, FR
- 9 Ancienne Belguique, Brussels, BE
- 11 Gasometer, Vienna AT (supporting Jack White)
- 12 Tram Depot, Krakow, PL (supporting Jack White) [SOLD OUT]
- 13 Forum Karlin Hall, Prague, CZ (supporting Jack White)
- 14 Alte Oper, Frankfurt, DE(supporting Jack White) [SOLD OUT]
- 16 Forest National, Brussels, BE (supporting Jack White)
- 17 Leeds Arena, Leeds, UK (supporting Jack White)
- 18 Hydro Arena, Glasgow, UK (supporting Jack White)
- 19 02 Arena London, UK (supporting Jack White)
By Sammy Brough