Review: Lucius Delivers in Salt Lake City

Lucius brought the glam and glitter to Salt Lake City on Saturday night. In a stadium-like performance, their show at the Commonwealth Room on Nov. 12, 2022, featured lights, costume changes, and an indie pop beat that, in another world, fans would be watching on a jumbotron from their $200 nosebleed seats. Instead, the packed house at The Commonwealth Room got an intimate view of a well-choreographed, musical experience. 

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, the two lead vocalists, appeared on stage in their characteristic twinning wardrobe. In flowing and sparkling red dresses and braided hair, they launched into full disco mode with two new songs “Second Nature” and “Next To Normal.” They beckoned us back to 1977, and the good old days at Studio 54 (thankfully minus the coke-induced mania in the bathroom stalls). Too bad the Commonwealth’s disco ball couldn’t keep up.  

After a few high-energy dance numbers, Wolfe and Laessig unleashed their vocal magic. Singing in unison at the same pitch, their voices created a rich and mesmerizing wall of sound. The product was not harmony, exactly (although they have started using harmony in their newer work). Instead, they created what they call, their “third voice.” Their locked-in vocals filled the venue for “Dusty Trails.” A major high point in the show (in a show filled with great moments) was their performance of their 2022 release, “The Man I’ll Never Find.” This song is as good, or better as any tune on the charts. To hear them perform it live, in such an up-close and intimate space, was magic. 

Lucius performed at the Commonwealth Room in Salt Lake City, Nov. 12, 2022. Photo by Alisha Gregson courtesy The State Room Presents

To add more fun, they invited audience participation, teaching us a few campy dance moves (think “Macarena”) to accompany their song, “Heartbursts.” I felt underdressed without sequins and glitter. Luckily, others, better equipped in sparkling jackets and twinkling eye makeup joined in. Towards the end of the performance and during a light show, Wolfe and Laessig left the stage and reappeared in the middle of the audience dressed in matching silver sequin outfits. They asked the crowd around them to take a seat on the floor while they sang “Two of Us On the Run.” They transformed the Commonwealth Room from a nightclub into an old-fashioned folk revival. With the audience gathered around them on the floor in a large circle, Lucius filled the room with a soulful sense of belonging.

Their grand finale was a time-traveling medley that featured a funkified version of “Turn It Around” and an ethereal rendition of Donna Summer’s 1977 disco dance hit “I Feel Love.” Most bands have an act. Lucius has a show. To see such a well-orchestrated live performance in a smallish venue like The Commonwealth Room felt like a rare treat. Indeed.  See them while you still can. I suspect that Lucius is destined for big arenas and jumbotrons in the near future. I’m just grateful I got to see them at a moment when I could be close enough to see their glitter eye shadow. 

Abraham Alexander opened the show with “Out of Me,” a Spanish guitar-styled song he has not yet recorded.  Son of Nigerian, immigrant parents, he captivated the crowd with stories of his young life in Greece and his move to Texas when he was 11 years old. Alexander is a performer on the rise. The audience was happy to serve as a beta test for his new material. His irrepressible sincerity drew them in and singing along to his single “Stay” (the record features Gary Clark Jr. on guitar). He then delivered a bluesy, acoustic rendition of Chris Issac’s “Wicked Games.” He coaxed a lot of sound from his acoustic guitar and his powerful bluesy voice commanded the space. He performed half-a-dozen numbers, some available on streaming services, others soon-to-be-released. He’s an artist to follow. I suspect he’ll be a headliner in the near future.

Special thanks to KRCL for sponsoring this fabulous event. If you were lucky enough to experience the Lucius show, share your video and photos with the world on social media.

Social feeds: @stateroompresents, @ilovelucius, @slmag, @abrahamalexander, @krclradio, Tags: #feelslikesecondnaturetour, #slmag and read more of John Nelson’s music coverage.

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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