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An Intimate Tuesday Evening With Lucius

This past Tuesday can’t compare to my experience with the bands Lucius and Tall Tall Trees, who were both in town for a special concert at The Pabst Pub. Fellow 88Nine intern Ana and I graciously took Mike Savino, of Tall Tall Trees, and Holly, Peter and Andy of Lucius around our grand tour of Milwaukee before the show later that night. We spent our day walking on Brady Street, having a few beers at Rochambo, and getting the men in the group manicures.

The main reason for the manicures is that it helped Mike with playing the banjo. Peter of Lucius decided to join Mike for the nail enhancement experience. After searching for the salon, we settled on Venetian Nails salon for this very ‘serious’ mission.

Following the manicure, we stopped by The Exclusive Company and perused through the records for a while.  We left the store with only a talking Star Wars key chain, which Mike incorporated in his set later that night.

After the walk from the Pabst to Brady Street, we decided to get some beers from Rochambo. With beer in our hands, our conversation ranged from eating bugs to strange ways to make out to touring experiences..

Nearing show time, we all squeezed into Ana’s sedan, and headed back to the Pabst Pub.

Tall Tall Trees opened the show with his hard-hitting banjo playing. Last time I saw Tall Tall Trees was in New York as a full band. Tonight, it was just the front man Mike Savino looping his banjo and kick drum to create a very full sound. It is quite impressive to see musicians use loops to create music that sounds like it is coming from a full band.

The “banjothon 3000,” as Mike calls it, incorporates drums, echoed voice and a violin bow to create a truly unique and effortless sound. Watching Mike hit various pedals and playing with toys like the talking Star Wars key chain, sounds like the album recorded with the full band. In the final song of Tall Tall Trees Set, the classic quote from Star Wars,  “Help me Obi-Wan,” rang during the song, while he looped his banjo and vocals.

After Tall Tall Trees played, a short ten minute intercession occurred before Lucius came on stage. From only having a four song EP out now and a full length coming out in the fall, Lucius brought their harmonies and retro inspired tunes to a sold out crowd.

Holly and Jess’s vocal range matched with the three guys’ backing vocals. This definitely shows that five part harmonies in a small room can actually work. There wasn’t one moment when I thought it was too much, or too little.

With intense energy and passion, the ladies of Lucius performed like musical veterans. I’ve seen bands just stand still and go through the motions of their songs. For a very new band, Lucius displayed not only a sense of musical skill, but an impressive stage presence.

Ending their set with “Turn It Around,” everyone in the crowd wanted an encore, but with only one EP out, would there be an encore?

Fortunately for the audience, Lucius had an encore up their sleeves.

Coming back out with an acoustic guitar, and Mike from Tall Tall Trees joined Lucius on banjo. Then Lucius came into the center of the crowd at the Pabst Pub and performed a cover of a Paul McCartney tune. The audience circled around the band, and witnessed a truly incredible moment by six very talented musicians.

A perfect end to the perfect day, Lucius and Tall Tall Trees headed out for the rest of their tour. Lucius currently has an EP available for purchase, and Tall Tall Trees as a full length. Expect great things from both bands, with the full length for Lucius coming out this fall. Until then, put their EP on repeat for a perfect summer soundtrack.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee