Son Lux – Schubas 3/26/14

With one of the rare nights I’m not rehearsing, writing, performing, or slogging through the mundane paperwork of life, I headed to Schubas to see Son Lux live.

With all honesty and discretion, I’ve been a Son Lux fan since “At War With Walls and Mazes” came out in 2008. The most recent release by Ryan Lott (Son Lux), “Lanterns”, takes what I loved about “At War…” and polishes it a bit more to create a unique, smart electro-popish sound.

Since Son Lux relies heavily on sampling a large palette of instruments from strings to saxophones on “Lanterns” I was extremely curious about how he would pull this off live. I’m not a big fan of seeing shows that consist mostly of backing tracks or samples. This show did not let me down.

The lineup consisted of Ryan Lott on Keys, and a guitar player and drummer whose names I do not remember, nor am having success finding at the moment.

From the opening notes of the first song – Pyre – it was obvious that this live lineup was both well rehearsed, and ready to provide some major creativity and energy to the live show. Starting Lott singing the first lines, to the first drum hits and crecendo’s from the guitar, to the nasty synth bass (doubled by effected guitar) this was a show unlike any other I had seen.

Playing a mixture of samples, and live synth Lott conducted his way through songs old and new with precision and charisma. This was the first “rock” concert I’ve been to where the audience was silent between songs, not as a cause of awkwardness from the performance, but due to reverence of the music and artist.

Favorites Easy, Lost it To Trying and Betray (off of “At War…” were played masterfully.

Lott’s songwriting and talent for creating unique sound profiles were on display, however, the most impressive element of the show, for me, was the seamless integration of the live guitar and drums with all of the above. The drummer and guitar player not only played the role of “colorists” to Lott’s compositions, but added a dynamic rhythmic interplay to challenge the listeners perception of the original recordings.

After driving the crowd with a huge, but somehow reserved sound Lott came back on stage to perform a song I had previously not paid much attention to (but now a favorite), “Lanterns Lit”. Solo piano and voice, Lott demonstrated his classical training and background, and showcased the strange beauty of his voice uncharacteristically un-effected.

The only thing that could have made this concert much better for me would have been more crowd energy. The quite exuded as reverence before seemed to transcend into active listening for the whole show. Even the biggest bass and drums couldn’t get people moving (which I find weird).

I’m not sure how many of the sold out fans were in attendance because they were true Son Lux fans, or were there because of the recent press from Lorde’s version of “Easy”, but I think all walked away thoroughly impressed.

Time for me to get back to the drawing board, write some new music, create some new sounds, and take the inspiration from last night somewhere new.