Gregory Alan Isakov and Lucius step under the spotlight to compel the crowd at the Tabernacle last Friday.
Moments before Lucius --the opener-- took the stage, all that could be seen in the venue was several lit candles placed on the stage which offered a comforting glow amidst the darkness of the venue. When the show began, a small warm light fell on the two women facing each other at a table in the center of the stage. Together, they began the show with an isolated but majestic harmony of vocals. Their long flowing robes combined with their heavenly mixture of voices created an atmosphere that can only be compared to something exceptionally serene.
I had no idea who Lucius was before seeing them open the concert in The Tabernacle last Saturday night, and now I cannot imagine a world where they were not on every single one of my playlists. The striking harmonies combined with their impressive lyrics and accompanying band took me to another dimension for a second. The most memorable song from the performance for me was “Dusty Trails”. I stood in awe of the composition of this song and how well their voices transcended together.
The Band Lucius consists of the two lead singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, drummer Dan Molad and guitarist Peter Lalish. Together they form a remarkable sound like no other. During the concert, Wolfe and Laessig commented that the release of their latest album has instituted their “Gold Era”. But they made sure to reassure us that they are “still sparkly”. However, gold is a perfect description of the mood of their new music. The warm tones of their sound have certainly flown off the page. Their stage presence is one I wish I could experience over and over again. But, for now, I will have to settle for their inevitable presence on my top listened to artists.
Because Gregory Alan Isacov’s music can lean on the slower side, I was skeptical of how entertaining his performance would be. Songs like “Amsterdam” and “Second Chances” are songs that I find myself listening to on rainy days when I want to lean into a somber mood. However, a year ago when he was announced as the opener for The Lumineers tour, I hoped he would be visiting the venue I had tickets to. But my luck ran short. He was only performing in the western part of the country. After that, I thought I had missed my chance to finally find out how his music transformed on a stage. But as luck would have it, Isacov announced a year later his own solo tour. I immediately knew I had to snatch a ticket. This is how I found myself standing in the crowd of the Tabernacle on Saturday night, in anticipation for Isacov to appear.
At 8:30 p.m. on the dot, Isacov took the stage. I was interested to see what his energy would be. The environment of the Tabernacle when he began to play can only be described as tranquil and without hurry. Even though the entirety of his setlist only lasted 15 songs, the experience was well worth it. Isacov was accompanied by guitarists Steve Varney and Danny Black, drummer Max Barcalow, fiddler Jeb Bows and bassist John Paul Grigsby. Together they cultivated a traditional folk sound that was certainly music to my ears.
Aside from the music, Isacov’s stage set can not go unmentioned. In the opening of the show, a background of stars appeared on a cool lit stage. The lack of spotlights hid the facial features of all of the band members, which made the ambiance of each song a little more mysterious. As he played through his set, each image displayed behind him had a desert-like energy. The crowd for his set seemed to be enjoying the laid-back melancholy spirit of his music as much as I was. More and more, I wanted to leave my old life behind and join the vagabond lifestyle that Isacov seemed to be selling. Songs from the set that I deem worth mentioning, were “San Luis” and “Southern Star”. These two songs stuck out to me because of how captivating he sounded when performing them.
The rest of the setlist goes as follows:
1. Before the Gun
2. Dark, Dark, Dark
3. The Fall
4. Southern Star
5. San Luis
6. This Empty Northern Hemisphere
7. Miles To Go
8. Big Black Car
9. 3 AM
10. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong
14. Appaloosa Bones
16. Dandelion Wine
17. Silver Bell
18. All Shades of Blue
19. The Stable Song
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to experience Isacov’s music live. If the opportunity presented itself again, I would not hesitate to take it. His tour will continue in the North America and then Europe for the rest of the year, dates as follows:
10/16 Massey Hall. Toronto, ON
10/17 MTELUS. Montreal, QB
10/18 Ulster Performing Arts Center Kingston, NY
10/20 Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY
10/21 Roadrunner Boston, MA
10/22 Roadrunner Boston, MA
10/23 Beacon Theatre New York, NY
11/21 SWG3 Galvanizers Yard Glasgow, UK
11/22 National Stadium Dublin, Ireland
11/23 Albert Hall Manchester, UK
11/25 Roundhouse London, UK
11/27 Salzhaus Winterthur, Switzerland
11/29 Paradiso Amsterdam, Netherlands
11/30 Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, Netherlans