Lucius // Live Review

Oslo – April 16th


Music is all about connections. Hearing Lucius’ leading ladies Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig chat with Nemone on BBC Radio 6 on the afternoon before tonight’s show, they discuss the importance of connecting with each other and with the audience when they perform.

When they appear from behind the curtains tonight at Hackey’s Oslo, both dressed head to toe in silver sequins, the special relationship shared between the two is immediately evident. As well as matching outfits, both wear beautiful, beaming smiles. I can almost feel the warmth that emanates from the stage, like the afternoon sun in spring. 200 faces smile back. Lucius have made the connection of which they’d spoke earlier in the day. They are yet to sing a note.

When the performance begins, Jess and Holly’s kinship becomes even more apparent. Facing each other, as if in conversation, their vocals are cosy and inviting. Often in unison, sometimes in harmony, but always uplifting, the charmingly symmetrical singers are a magnetic presence.

On ‘Nothing Ordinary’, tribal drum beats and scratchy, post punk guitar are beautifully juxtaposed with soaring harmony and twinkling synsthesiser sounds. And by the time the first bass notes of ‘Wildewoman’, the title track from their debut album (out not on Mom+Pop) ring out, Olso is well and truly under Lucius’ spell. “Her eyes are light and clear/And fearless like Chicago winds in the winter.” Laessig takes the lead here, joining in with the plodding bass and acoustic guitar, with Wolfe offering a towering backing vocal.

On record, ‘Wildewoman’ is a happy-go-lucky pop/folk song, drawing on influences from Sam Cooke to the Beach Boys. Tonight, the vocal range of the Lucius front-women and the power of Dan Molad, stood towering over his small drum kit, turn the track into a stomping modern pop sing-a-long that gets even this Hackney crowd jumping up and down in unison.

Lucius are a different animal altogether in a live setting. The small room at Oslo offers enough space for Laessig and Wolfe to really open up their lungs, helping to convey a sense of emotion that can often be lost on record. The rest of the band too, are given room to stretch their legs as Molad and company provide masses of energy that transmits to the audience.

It’s a set filled with 60s pop melodies, country-tinged hooks and catchy, uplifting choruses. There’s some lovely arpeggio guitar from Pete Lalish and more animation on drums from Molad, but it’s on the more tender moments where Laessig and Wolfe can really show off their vocal prowess.

The bourbon-soaked Go Home is an anti-love song, which sees the protagonist dig her heels in as she tells her lover, “I don’t need you anyway. Go home.” By this point in the show, the band have come down from the stage and joined us in the crowd, adding to the sense of togetherness and complicity. Finishing with an emotional rendition of Two of Us on The Run, Laessig and Wolfe are once again in perfect harmony. Where once their vocal was powerful, it’s now supple and delicate, almost haunting; filling the room with a sense of quiet reflection.

The Lucius live experience is one that’s hugely transcendent of their record. Luckily, they’ll be back for a short run of festival dates in the summer.


Buy: Lucius – Wildewoman