Seattle-bred rockers La Luz were on hand at the Teragram Ballroom on Friday night, and brought along local favorites Summer Twins.
La Luz are actually Los Angeles locals now. They’ve been in Los Angeles since the beginning of 2016, and that’s plenty long enough to qualify them as locals. The four-piece spent their formative years in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle for nearly four years. In fact, the first time I caught them live was at their then-hometown music festival Sasquatch at The Gorge in 2016.
Their brand of psych-surf rock fit their early-afternoon set time at Sasquatch perfectly. But they’re an even better fit for Los Angeles, home to a pretty good psych rock scene. In LA, on any given night you can find a band playing in front of a trippy projector screen. That was really the only thing missing from their show was a visual component. You’d think their lush harmonies and kaleidoscopic guitar riffs would be a perfect match.
“Y’all are gonna make me cry,” Cleveland said when addressing the packed crowd at the Teragram Ballroom before launching into their set.
They kicked off their set with the instrumental title track from this year’s full-length Floating Features. They would follow with the album’s next track, “Cicada”, and by then you were completely washed away in lead vocalist Shana Cleveland’s dreamy vocals. They can sometimes be construed as sleepy but it’s in an alluring fashion.
La Luz played a mix of songs that leaned heavily on the new album, which dropped in May. Alice Sendahl provided lush textures on keyboards, with Lena Simon on bass and Marian Li Pino on drums rounding things out.
“Mean Dream” saw the crowd reacting just the way the band looks in the official music video — swaying side to side.
If you had any wonder how they’ve adapted to Los Angeles life, just take crowd favorite “California Finally” at face value. “In the morning, I do what I wanna do / One endless summer after another / I do what I wanna do,” Cleveland sings of life as a professional musician out here. While it’s true we’re obviously in a massive housing crisis, I know a larger number of creatives that are able to make it out here than any of the previous places I’ve resided for any length of time (SF/Oakland Bay Area, Las Vegas).
Moving to Seattle from Los Angeles was a big enough change in the band’s career to merit a subheader on the band’s Wikipedia page. A lot of bands come here from other cities and struggle to find their place and comfort. Friday night’s show and the hypnotizing effect La Luz had on the crowd is evidence they’re not in that boat.
One standout was “I Wanna Be Alone (With You)” from 2015’s full-length Weirdo Shrine, their second record. It’s one of their better uptempo earworms with its lively drums and constant bass drive. Another song from that record appeared towards the end, “Sleep Till They Die”. Cleveland’s clear vocals effortlessly drift across the lavish harmonies of her bandmates.
It was the last night of the band’s tour and a great way to close things out. Summer Twins (sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown) played dreamy tunes along with two accompanying band members. They’re also recently relocated to Los Angeles, but from Orange County town Riverside. They’ve dropped some new tunes this year like “Dream Girl” and we’re looking forward to more. They were certainly a great fit opening for La Luz, and accompanied them on some of the band’s west coast run.
Photos by Tim Aarons