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La Luz @ Mono, Glasgow

25 September 2018

The tight-lipped ladies of La Luz are the embodiment of cinematic cool tonight in Glasgow's Mono

Published in The Skinny

Stoney gazes are rife tonight with the ladies of La Luz, looking and sounding like they’re fresh from the frames of a Tarantino flick. Coupled with frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s jacket that makes her a dead-ringer for the Mariachi from Desperado, there's a definite air of cinematic cool on the loose.

Peggy Sue’s slacker-folk kindles the night with their (predominantly) upbeat break-up tunes. "We used to only do moody, now we’ve got lots of moods," proclaims singer/guitarist Katy Young. Their somewhat-surf stylings highlight the bill’s on point matchmaking, but their dashes of post-rock give them their own edge. Young and Rosa Slade's woozy swaying adds a cheeky irony to the set; when the din of bar-natter dies down, and their vocalised relationship agonies are wholly heard, the moves they’re supplying make their hardships feel surmountable.

"We’ve brought the Soul Train dance line!" La Luz announce early on, confirming that they are top-tier party-starters. They request that the audience splits down the middle to form a channel for dancers (and a wormer) to strut their stuff. They lay down a Wipeout-inducing lick to entice their revellers and announce: "We’re gonna see if you're better than Manchester," after an apparent lacklustre response there last night. Fingers crossed our appraisal is more favourable.

The Cali-quartet’s off-kilter, secrets-in-the-sand surf-rock is approachable yet hypnotic, like the score to a David Lynch murder mystery where The Beach Boys are a group of gumshoes, combing the waves for clues to batshit cases. Their four-part oooh-ing harmonies are like a spectral seduction, Alice Sandahl’s kinetic keys brush by B movie territory (in a good way), and Cleveland’s twanging guitar provides a persistently saucy spaghetti western flare.

On record, their psychedelic slant is present but never fully fleshed out. Live, they miss a trick by not nurturing this element into the transcendent tool that it can be, especially when trying to convince the good folk of autumnal Glasgow that the sun still shines, albeit in Cali-forn-aye-a. Little ditties comprise the majority of the setlist, which makes getting properly lost in music somewhat tricky. Also, the cinematic vibe that they ooze with so innately could serve to be bolstered by some lo-fi visuals or a more shadowy stage presence, as currently their mystique ebbs and flows.

During the intro to Call Me in the Day, Cleveland turns her back to the audience, revealing a Cheshire cat sewn on to her jacket, its wide eyes and wider smile foreshadows the (all too brief) rabbit-hole that follows. Pre-encore closer, You Can Never Know is an utter snake-charmer: lead vocals volley with a trio-harmony, a dazed organ pulls us into an undercurrent, and its sedating tempo flexes their beguiling sleight to peak effect. 'Oh, take me to the other side.' Take us with you, indeed. 'All the way to the other side.' Aye, all the way, please.



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