Lucius | Clara Nova
April 6th 2016
James Lowther (words) and Melanie Smith (photos) caught Lucius on the first night of their UK tour in Manchester and were mesmerised by the costumed couple.
Support act Clara-Nova delivered a truly surprising set. I was amazed that two people on a stage could generate such sounds, particularly on their second track ‘Badlands’. I’d checked out a little of their stuff before the set, and wasn’t really sure what to expect – but they really blew me away. There was looped vocals and mighty baselines, it really was an enthralling set, and the sound that they managed to conjure up in such a small venue was awe-inspiring. They were lovably awkward on stage and seemed genuinely happy to be playing for us. At the end of the set (after they’d played the fantastic ‘Unmistakable’) Clara promised us that we’d be in for a treat when Lucius took to the stage – and she was right.
And then Lucius took to the stage, adorned with lightning bolt emblazoned capes (Check out the excellent Pitchfork article about the resurgence of bands with uniforms). Kicking things off with a bit of a favourite of mine, Madness, they played a sensational set. I was completely captivated by them from beginning to end. It really was hard not to be mesmerised by these two costumed girls delivering some amazing harmonies with some kicking electronic music to back it all up.
I wasn’t all that familiar with a lot of their material, but I’d given a couple of their bigger hits a listen beforehand, but hearing them live is a whole other story. ‘Born Again Teen’ in particular really got the crowd going – and what a fantastically uplifting pop track it is, with spot-on harmonies to boot. Speaking of harmonies, I’d see them live again just to hear ‘Dusty Trails’ – the vocals on that were like nothing I’d ever heard of.
They even went off stage for a quick costume change (different capes this time!), before joining the crowd for a couple of tracks. I couldn’t have been any closer to the action, and it was great to see them get down and dance with the crowd. As much as I would have loved to hear their sound on a bigger stage, these little touches really made me appreciate the venue and the crowd I was in.
When the two ladies said that this was this was their last track, you could feel the sense of disappointment from the crowd. It was a cracking last track too – and of course there was an encore. ‘Go Home’ was soulful and passionate, and ‘Wildewoman’ had the whole crowd (and most of the band) dancing up and down. They finished things off with ‘Better Look Back’, a funky pop track and the perfect closer.
It truly was a hypnotic set – and one that I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They’ve got a whole heap of dates left for their new tour – and I would definitely check them out if you get the chance.
Check out the photo gallery below:
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All words by James Lowther. More writing by James on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.
All photos by Melanie Smith – Mudkiss Photography. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her onFacebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here:mudkissphotography.co.uk.