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Surf’s Up with La Luz at The Bowery Ballroom

August 31st, 2015

La Luz – The Bowery Ballroom – August 29, 2015

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As the tail end of the summer is upon us, the Seattle-based surf-rock outfit La Luz rolled into New York City with their latest album, Weirdo Shrine, produced by Ty Segall. The gals’ sound harkens back to ’50s and ’60s doo-wop groups—like the Shangri-La’s and the Shirelles—distorted against fuzzy guitars. The perfect soundtrack for end-of-summer lazing around the beach or a backyard BBQ. It’s well told that the group had a near-fatal car collision on the highway while touring in 2013. That experience seems to have darkened their music a bit, and no doubt Segall’s production amplified its resonance. The quartet hit the deck of The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night and launched beach balls into the crowd before commencing with a pair from their recent effort, “Sleep Till They Die” and “You Disappear.” With keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon harmonizing with lead Shana Cleveland, “Call Me in the Day” was a perfect shoop-shoop ditty that had onlookers bobbing along to the sway of their lilting voices.

In honor of the supermoon, Cleveland howled several times and later conferred with her bandmates to note the momentous celestial phenomenon with something special. In true Seattle rock tradition, the frontwoman requested the audience to form a crowd-surfing line as several fashionistas took turns going down the runway. The evening continued with choice tunes, as Simon’s bass opened “With Davey” and a trail of ooo-wahs soothed on “Damp Face.” A request to activate the disco ball on the morose lullaby “What Good Am I” wasn’t granted, however the virtual supermoon for the evening illuminated the night. Playing new material, Cleveland noted “Believe My Eyes” was a recent release on a split 7″ with openers Scully. Along with the lunar event, Simon paid homage to Michael Jackson’s birthday with the first few basslines of “Billie Jean.” Folks were hoping for a cover but instead were offered fave “Big Big Blood.” The ladies happily returned for an encore of “Clear Night Sky” and “Brainwash.” The yelps on the last song punctuated the evening’s close, leaving nothing more to be desired except maybe some sand and surf. —Sharlene Chiu