Live Music: Lucius at The Garrison in Toronto

Lucius Toronto Garrison

The New York Times got it spot-on with their evaluation of Lucius, “an art school take on girl group soul.” I can offer you the following extension – a subtle and healthy mix of current bands Alt-j and Haim, the vintaged soul of The Supremes and The Marvelettes with the power of Big Mama Thornton when they need it. It’s good to have a couple of reference points.

Dressed in their band uniform – girls in green blazers, boys all in white with turn of the century facial hair – the Brooklyn based five-piece took to the stage a little after eleven at a comfortably full Garrison last Friday evening.

Their show was confident and charismatic throughout; a youthful naivety or just really well practiced? A mix, most likely. The set began with a cover of The Beatles’ 1995 release, “Free as a Bird”, which immediately introduced the intentions of five members of Lucius, a drummer with a groove (albeit on a stand up kit), married perfectly with the bass, and bluesy guitar which collectively pause to allow for delicately close harmonies. The performance continued with the tightness I was promised by a friend a few weeks prior. The off-beat soul of “Genevieve” was an early stand-out due to the continued blues influenced guitar and tribal-esque beat.

The bands confidence grew during each song. The strength of their album and live show was obvious throughout but more so when radio and fan favourite “Go Home”, a true modern soul song, was played pre-encore. Returning to the stage, Lucius gifted us two more songs, “Turn It Around” and “Goodbye” (penned by McCartney and released by Mary Hopkin in ‘69). For the latter, the final song of the evening, the band disembarked the stage and set up camp in the middle of the dance floor amongst the crowd. Free of microphones, electric guitars and synth machines, they performed a heart warming acoustic rendition which sent the audience out into the winter-threatening night, a couple degrees warmer than most others along Du-West.