The acoustic tour is almost an inevitability. Serving as a retrospective (see: Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill Acoustic tour and Peter Frampton’s Acoustic Classics tour), artists will take it on after a one-off performance garners rave reviews (see: crowd demand to see an old favorite, or T-Pain post-Tiny Desk Concert). But still, the question begs, “Why go on an acoustic tour after only two albums?” Lucius’s live show has always featured an acoustic element, but only for one song before going back to their usual setup. Their debut album Wildewoman also toyed with Americana-tinged singer-songwriter music, like “Two of Us on the Run.” But after two albums, vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig have decided to take that fan favorite moment of their show and expand on it. Their third album Nudes features acoustic versions of select Lucius tracks from previous albums as well as a few covers, including a collaboration with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. It’s Lucius as fans have only received a sample of up to now, but at their sold-out Lincoln Theatre stop, they performed a fully-acoustic set that was nothing short of captivating from start to finish.
The setup was austere and to the point - a simple neon sign with the band’s name in cursive hung over the stage. They didn’t have to pull any visual stops for this show - the real star was the vocal performance of Laessig and Wolfe, who stood face-to-face with a mic in-between. The identically-dressed duo’s harmonies were virtually inseparable, but with the rest of the band delivering backing vocals, some songs featured five-piece harmonies that were a treat for the ears. Thanks to the band’s purposeful restraint in playing second fiddle to the vocals, the duo left the crowd in awe time and again, like on “Tempest” and “Two of Us on the Run.” When opener Ethan Gruska joined on backup harmonies for “Dusty Trails,” the song even left some struggling to hold back tears. It wasn’t any easier to contain emotions when the band called up a couple to the stage, ostensibly because they won a random seat raffle. But as one of the winners started to speak about their passion for Lucius and for each other, the crowd began to realize what was going on. The woman proposed to her girlfriend on stage to massive applause from the crowd and hugs from the band, who then launched into a cover of Daniel Johnson’s “True Love Will Find You in the End.” As the band closed their set with the Cinderella track “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” they implored the crowd to leave the show and spread positivity to others around them. Though their DC return will almost undoubtedly be a more traditional affair, they created an unforgettable moment that will linger on in people’s heads whenever they listen to Lucius.
Nudes is out now through Mom + Pop Music.
Opening for Lucius was folk singer Ethan Gruska. His debut album Slowmotionary is out now through Sire Records.