Lucius at First Avenue – 3/23/2016


There are bands I really look forward to cover live. Lucius is one of those bands. Matching outfits, lively action, mirror image singers – what’s not to love for a photographer? Seems I am not alone in this sentiment since First Avenue was sold out and packed.

Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture started the evening. The duo of Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman promoted their recent album “Pray for Rain”. PBC is a very “cool” band. When Versprille thanked the audience with “This is really fun” it had a certain nonchalance to it. The feeling was certainly genuine; it was just delivered quite factual. The band certainly got the crowd into it. Labeled as an Indie Pop band there is a jazzy feel to them and their sound it a bit on the dreamy side with some shoegaze moments. Towards the end of their set their sound became a bit harder and more lively. Overall a great band that fit well into the mood of the evening.

Lucius just released their 3rd full length album “Good Grief” on 3/11. Minneapolis was the kick off to their tour with many dates already well sold out. The audience was a mix of ages and to quote one of First Avenue’s stage hands “A classy Crowd”.
The set started with Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig sharing a microphone and a minimalistic version of “Dusty Trails”. Having seen them several times, how much the two singers are in synch never ceases to amaze me. It seems effortless and natural and their voices create the unique sound that makes Lucius special. Watching from the side after the first few songs, I did notice that while the upper bodies were in sync, Jess Wolfe’s legs were moving around a lot more than Laessing’s. I loved their songs with big buildup like “Tempest” and “Born Again Teen” and their fans sang along for many of their numbers. The all-out effort of “Gone Insafe” was followed by an instrumental break and a costume change.
Lucius had something special planned for the encore. They had recently judged NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest and since the winner was from Minnesota they invited Duluth’s Gaelynn Lea on stage for the encore. The rendition of “Two of Us on the Run” with Lea’s fiddle and distinct voice added was nothing short of brilliant. Check out a YouTube video HERE. In summary, my expectations were high and were surpassed.

Set List: Dusty Trails / Tempest / Nothing Ordinary / Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain / Madness / Truce / Turn It Around / Something About You / Born Again Teen / Gone Insane / Almighty Gosh / How Loud Your Heart Gets / Genevieve / Better Look Back Encore: Two of Us on the Run (with Gaelynn Lea) / Go Home