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Concert Thu Mar 27 2014
Ryan Lott, the main component of Son Lux, creates post-rock songs infused with flashes of lush hip hop beats. It's this kind of genre bending that often fills me with curious glee. There are so many possibilities with this mix, so I had no idea how much I would end up enjoying and obsessing over Son Lux on my first listen. I had a similar experience with Leverage Models. I picked up their vinyl solely based on their album's cover and the touted connections with LCD Soundsystem and Sharon Van Etten. Both of these purchases were blind and I got more out of them than I ever expected. The sold out audience at Schubas certainly got more than they bargained for from the pair's fantastic show.
Leverage Models started out the night right as lead singer Shannon Fields spoke through a garbled and deeply distorted voice as drummer Max Jaffe wrapped a scarf around his head. Fields tore into the set, sounding demonic and speaking of Jordanville and Eleanor Roosevelt before uttering the name of the band. Fields' introduction was exactly want the band needed, it held a unique grandness over the packed crowd. It cast a surrealistic vibe around the set that only amplified the band's energetic and inspired performance.
Field's voice was always in flux, manipulated into a heavenly melody before drifting back into deep and vicious snarl. It was an interesting parallel with Leverage Models' continuous movement throughout the night. Fields' hair waved around wildly as he switched between numerous instruments including maracas and a megaphone. In between joyful rumpus, Fields' interactions with the crowd were fun and carefree. "We are still Leverage Models", he quipped before delving into "A Slow Marriage". The set built upon itself til the very end where they hit an ecstatic peak with "Cooperative Extensions". I'm sure most people came specifically to see Son Lux, but Leverage Models left their exciting set with a lot of new fans cheering for more.
Ryan Lott described Son Lux as a family that night as he was joined by guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. After a few minutes of adjusting and getting all their equipment in order, they gracefully started their set with "Alternate World". All three musicians immediately struck a chord with the audience. Lott's voice quietly broke through Bhatia's and Chang's intricate instrumentation. His voice was gentle and momentarily pensive before it lunged through the room. There was no doubt that they were going to put on a phenomenal performance.
Bhatia had a hypnotic sway about him that often shifted into an explosive rocking while Chang's dexterity on the drums was immensely impressive. Together with Lott's keyboard an computer they crafted incredibly interesting and slightly reworked versions of songs off the latest Son Lux album Lanterns. "Easy" in particular descended into a wonderful jam, really putting their cohesiveness on display. Lott introduced "Stay" as "an old one in a new way". The performance was emotionally draining for both the audience and Lott. Nearby I could see some members of the audience solemnly listening to the lyrics as tears began to form. The song, an impassioned and frightened question of one's love, eked out of Lott and shook his body in the process. It looked painfully cathartic, sounding eternally sublime
It wasn't the only time in the set that Lott looked like he was draining himself dry. All the songs felt powerful and endlessly majestic. Son Lux put every bit of themselves into them. The audience had no choice but to be absorbed by the songs.They followed Son Lux's every move, from long rhythmic clapping during a couple of the songs to the moments between them that were filled with a combination of grateful applause and deep silence. There was a reverence that flowed straight to the band's final song together, "Lost it to Trying." The encore was performed by Lott alone, offering Schubas a lullaby to end the night. His tender rendition of "Lanterns Lit" left the crowd in a beautiful trance, cementing the awe inspiring performance.