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Lucius closes out its busy 2014 festival slate with a bang

Peter Blackstock
pblackstock@statesman.com

Across the way from the giant mud patch that bordered the stage where hordes flocked for Iggy Azalea’s highly anticipated 5:30 p.m. set on the RetailMeNot stage, Brooklyn quintet Lucius launched into “Lucius” on the much easier-to-navigate Austin Ventures stage grounds. With four drummers pounding, three guitarists shredding and two songbirds singing at any given moment, they kicked up a beautiful racket that paid full dividends for those who sought out the greener grass.

Fronted by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, who dress and stylize themselves as if they’re non-identical twins, Lucius puts on a show that might be considered gimmicky if the music underneath weren’t so undeniably accessible and creative. There’s a little bit of everything in their sound — pop, folk, punk, indie, electronica, even a little bit of psych-metal skronk — but in the end, Lucius works because they don’t sound like anybody else.

On the opening “Genevieve,” Laessig and Wolfe pounded drums as they sang, along with Andrew Burri and Dan Molad; guitarist Peter Lalish was the only one without sticks in his hands for the song. Slightly less rhythm-heavy but no less energetic tunes “Tempest and “Don’t Just Sit There” followed before they brought things down a bit with “Wildewoman,” the title track to their 2013 album that launched them into the spotlight as fresh indie-rock darlings.

Laessig and Wolfe allowed their three bandmates to stretch out instrumentally on a long jam of guitar feedback and distortion at the end of “Until We Get There” before returning and inviting Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson from The Head and the Heart onstage for the anthemic “How Loud Your Heart Gets,” the closing track on “Wildewoman.”

Before they closed with the irresistible pop single “Turn It Around,” Wolfe noted with a mixture of glee and wistfulness that “this is our last song of our last festival of the year.” Indeed, they’d hit the circuit hard, starting with South By Southwest last spring and also working in a hill country trip for Utopia Fest a few weeks ago. “Thank you so much for making it so special,” she added, with obvious sincerity. The crowd, which stretched all the way back to the food booths by the time the band finished, clearly thought it was special, too.