LIVE: Lucius @ Upstate Concert Hall, 6/22/16

Review by Greg Haymes

You might mistake Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig for twins. The charismatic and ever-so-stylish co-lead vocalists for the band Lucius always dress identically from their hair-dos down to their shoes.

Wednesday evening at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park was no exception. They sported matching metallic gold skin-tight bodysuits with silver over-dresses as they stood center-stage, each behind their respective keyboards, facing each other in mirror image.

To say that it was difficult to take your eyes off of them would be a grand understatement. They were utterly captivating.

But Lucius is not a case of style over substance. The two women met as voice majors at the prestigious Berklee School of Music, and, oh yes, they certainly can sing. And it’s often difficult to tell who is singing which part. It’s almost as though they share one voice… as well as an adventurous fashion sense.

Backed by the solid, versatile Dan Molad (drums), Peter Lalish (guitar, keyboards) and Andrew Burri (guitar, drums), Wolfe and Laessig drew equally from their two albums – 2013’s Wildewoman and the new Good Grief – as they wove together an evening of folksy ballads (“Two of Us on the Road” with the vocalists sitting on the edge of the stage), the reggae-flavored pop of “Turn It Around,” the twang-tinged “Dusty Trails,” the electro-pop throb of the show-closing “Better Look Back.”

They have a marvelous gift for ear-worm melodies, which they brought to the fore on the opening “Madness,” the top-down, wind-in-your-hair cruise through the anthemic rocker “Born Again Teen” and especially “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain,” a perfect melding of pop and funk that sounded like nothing less than the musical marriage of Prince and ABBA.

The Upstate Concert Hall was far from packed, but Lucius truly seems on the cusp of stardom. All the ingredients are there; they just need one lucky break…

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy opened the show, and she delivered a much more successful performance than she did as a solo opener for the Milk Carton Kids at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall last month.

This time around she brought a bassist and drummer with her, and they were crucial in laying the foundation for her often quirky songs, especially the soul stroll of “No Matter Who,” the clever “Memory Street” (with Glaspy and her band imitating the skipping of a vinyl record) and the ambitious cover of Bjork’s “Who Is It?”

Reprinted with the permission of The Times Union

Nothing Ordinary
Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain
Turn It Around
Dusty Trails
Born Again Teen
Gone Insane
Almighty Gosh
Two of Us on the Road
Go Home
Don’t Just Sit There
Better Look Back
Can’t Help Falling in Love (with Margaret Glaspy) (Elvis Presley)
How Loud Your Heart Gets

Emotions and Math
Pins and Needles
Parental Guidance
Black and Blue
Who Is It? (Bjork)
No Matter Who
Memory Street
You Don’t Want Me
Love Like This
You and I
Somebody to Anybody (solo)

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