For those who are less fortunate in their musical enlightenments, La Luz may present a bit of a barrier. This proves to be true when, balanced on a table-top in The Hare & Hounds I rabidly recite the few facts I know about them to a man whom my friend terms a “bearded muso”. La Luz’s album, for those of you that are interested, has been produced by the tirelessly gadabout garage rocker Ty Segall (famed for his warbling in Fuzz and his collaborations with Tim Presley and Thee Oh Sees among others) and in bearded muso world that’s kind of a big deal.
This impenetrability of the wanker sorts that always turn up at these sorts of things prove not to be too off-putting as we race up the stairs into Bleach, which perches improbably above one of the nicest pubs in Brighton, and into a packed out room.
Straight in there with some artfully coaxed wahs from the guitar; the band make me feel a bit less guilty about my constant sixties fantasy. The singer, who is a stunning presence, squints into the stage lights with a displeased curl of her lip, manages to adopt a half-lope-half-strut that showcases her enviable velvet mini-dress. The rest of the band, in their blouses and shrugged on t-shirts provide masterful backing to her; all oohs and ahhs and Hammond organ hums.
The room, at first, doesn’t really know what to do with itself; I think they are probably all marvelling at the majesty, they are rooted to the ground, eyes agape, feet heavy as bricks. Three or four songs into the set, though, the first twinklings of pleasure decimate the measured cool of the predominantly hip congregation. Headbanging follows, which encourages some rolling, shoulder swaying attempts at dancing.
Admittedly, it’s neither attractive nor co-ordinated, but we don’t care and neither do La Luz; they continue serving up their dark Beach Boys homages, interspersing them with some deftly slung out explosions of grit; just enough to keep the rockers’ interest piqued, yet infrequent enough to not tarnish the shimmering glamour of their retro appeal. La Luz’s music could easily sit on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, such is its complacent, minimalist cool and I could happily inhabit their world much longer than the hour that they are willing to gift to the crowd.
Testament to the flawless quality of the surf-rock winks and the Shirelles caressing harmonies, I leg it straight to the merch stall simply with the intention of chucking some cash in the direction of the band. I consider their new LP, “Weirdo Shrine”, which is tantalising, however I am swayed by the suggestion of the attendant, who indicates “Oh Man, Cover The Ground” by Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles. My inquisitive nature gets the better of me and the guy explains that the brunette that occupied centre stage is responsible for this recording too. And wow, what a sound; it’s pure Sunday morning regret, soothed by her musings on beaches and her strokings of acoustic guitar, distinctly different from the girl-gang prang of La Luz. Go get it, and induct yourself into the creative world of La Luz and their solo efforts now!
By Adam Morrison