Vancouver’s Les Chaussettes have a tamed dose of fuzz. Fuzz Lite. Catchy pop songs backed by soothing harmonies. Lots of “oohs” and “aahs.” Simple, bouncy, danceable tunes. A lady next to me was doing the shimmy like it was going out of style. I’m forever convinced she was transplanted from an old. grainy surf music video.
The three frontwomen and their standout male drummer played an all-around great opening set. They pumped up the crowd and loosened our limbs. Next up, La Luz, but don’t forget about Les Chaussettes. If you get the chance, check them out around Vancouver.
Twenty-minute changeover. The venue empties onto the street. A cloud of smoke hangs over the Owl. Go inside, fuel up, take a leak, wait for the light (La Luz).
Seattle’s La Luz fuses rockabilly with garage and psychedelic sounds. Lead singer and guitarist, Shana Cleveland, boasted some twangy licks along with some long legs that captivated the audience. Stutter step dance moves from one side of the small stage to the other were contagious. Bumping up and down, the crowd couldn’t help but mimic Shana’s moves. Monday night felt like a Friday. Boisterous yells and yips after every song.
“Can we just take you guys with us on tour? You’re awesome,” said drummer Marian Li Pino with a smile and a laugh.
Minus some feedback in the middle of the set, La Luz sounded flawless. The surf pop sound couldn’t be more precise with this band. Like Les Chaussettes, La Luz’s harmonies add depth to their already deep instrumentals. Their playfulness on stage and light banter between songs proves that they are comfortable and professional musicians, a trait that only becomes more charming as they book bigger gigs.
Cleveland’s vocals were soft but contained sharp tones. “When you were mine, I didn’t have the time,” she sang into the microphone. Lyrics similar to these were spread throughout every one of La Luz’s songs. Words poignant to everyone in attendance. Themes of heartbreak and loss: classic songwriting topics. “And now, I kind of wanna die, and that’s the truest way to know I’m still alive,” she added. La Luz shines a bright light on breakups, taking us for a ride in an unexpected direction with lyrics and dance moves.
It didn’t take long for the Seattle group to return to the stage after their “last” song. Less than a moment went by, and they were behind their microphones once again. Soon after, Cleveland had the room split in two with a corridor down the middle for an East Van version of Soul Train. Before you could say, “Look at those white guy dance moves,” pairs of people were throwing themselves down the corridor. Twists, turns, and jazz hands aplenty. This crowd was energetic and groovy to boot.
A show on a whim; a last minute surprise. Two girl rock groups played to a rocking Monday night crowd dressed in a weekend disguise. Fuzz, surf, and Cleveland’s busy whammy boosted everyone into a collective shimmy shammy. Look out for Les Chaussettes: they’re a group to watch for in the local scene. With an extensive tour coming up, La Luz, I’m sure, will be back soon, but maybe not at the Owl, if not in your dreams.