It’s 8pm on a Tuesday when a five piece takes the stage. It’s the opening slot reserved for those making their name, polishing their craft, working their way up the nightclub circuit. It’s not an optimal slot, but it has its rewards. And occasionally, a band in this slot has begun to generate a good amount of buzz and a larger than expected crowd shows up well before the evening’s headliner is slated to perform (tonight it’s Milo Greene). That’s the scene at Washington, D.C.’s Rock and Roll Hotel for New York’s Lucius.
They’re a bit hard to describe, actually, which is to say that they don’t fall within the usual descriptive boxes. With the exception of “Turn It Around,” their songs generally display pop leanings without adhering to the formulas of tightly wound pop construction. Dueling female vocals dominate the mix and are often so tightly conjoined that one could swear they were double tracking live. Their metronomic timing is combined with a rare virtuosity that flies almost as high as the altitudes inhabited by Florence Welch. World-class vocals are a rarity in indie rock, but Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig pleasantly gentrify that neighborhood. They harmonize expertly, as well, and are backed ably by their male bandmates with what may be described as rhythm vocals.
Mirroring the vocals, their bandmates’ toms are often struck aggressively, precisely and in tandem, with at least one of them being slightly muted by a cloth covering (the tom, not the bandmate). To say that Lucius grabbed the audience’s attention from their first downward strikes would be an understatement; their set immediately gave the audience the feeling one might get from a marching band stridently making their way through one’s living room. Throughout the set, in fact, there were often four people playing percussion…remarkably, though, they have no use for a traditional drum kit.
As with many bands still striding towards their sweet spot, various songs seem cut from various bolts of cloth. Some of these are “bigger” songs with abrupt changes and underlying math that might confuse those seeking that pop song construct, or just looking for a common tie that binds. That being said, their infectious energy had the crowd moving early and often, and left them wanting more. Without a doubt, the best is yet to come from this talented young band.