Echoplex’s room was full of rowdies as the Seattle born-and-bred surf rockers, La Luz, flirted and played, and played and flirted last night. Led by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard), and Lena Simon (bass)—all members sang and indulged in understated conversation between each other and with their audience. Drummer, Li Pino, said early into the evening’s show that LA was one of their favorite places to play and they certainly made the head bobbing Angelino crowd feel the love. It’s insane to think that this merry band of four has only been together since 2012. Their signature sound, like track “Phantom Feelings,” would be fit to score any Tarantino film at the drop of a hat. Onstage, they move as one and sound just as good live, if not better than on the records they’ve already released.
Their LA set borrowed evenly from albums, Weirdo Shrine and It’s Alive, and in between songs each member bantered skillfully under their breath. Halfway through, they joked earnestly about a thirty-second song they’d pulled together called, “Big Woman” that was initiated when a mouthy dude from a Fresno show kept shouting “big woman!!!” (a la Animal from the Muppets) one night. Cleveland laughed as she recounted the story since La Luz never had a song called “Big Woman” in their rep, but sighed that they finally “gave in” and now, play the cheeky ode to Mr. Fresno Obnoxious at every show “in the key of Z.” In general, La Luz’s shared sense of humor is very on the inside — something charming and easygoing that diehard fans loudly appreciate with whoops and hollers, and that newcomers adopt throughout the hour spent with them.
Band members progressively (and literally) let down their long hair as they played their more doo-wop tune, “Call Me in the Day,” and playfully ended the set with “Sure As Spring,” the popular first track from It’s Alive. Watching La Luz play music is much like stepping out into an old black and white Western shootout that you want them to win—and when they draw—we are happily left La Luzers.
Author’s note: Alice Sandahl is the only person to ever make playing the shaker look cool. Ever.