Located within a discrete alley in Fishtown, “THE FILLMORE” shone in bright, bold red letters – creating an impactful and impressive first impression. Somehow, I found myself within one of the wrong venues within the Fillmore, which was quite impressive in itself, very large and full of youthful-energy. Despite the infectious, pulsating bass and the girls in their EDM glow-up, I had another concert to attend, one I’ve been excited about all month.
Son Lux, once a solo project by composer Ryan Lott, now consists of three members including Lott on vocals, Ian Chang on drums and Rafiq Bhatia on guitar. The band is known for their epic experimental sound that one can only try to genre label. They are currently on tour for their fifth album, Brighter Wounds, which is quite-arguably their most ambitiously themed project yet. Lott passionately abstracts multiple personal and weighty topics inclsuding losing his close friend to cancer, falling out of love, and experiencing the birth of his first child, a son, born a day after Election Day.
With some help from a friend, I was finally able to locate The Foundry. And upon entering, the Foundry immediately gave me a fantastic first impression. It is chic, comfortable, and chill. The curtain backdrop is beautiful and the lighting setup was controlled and vibrant, yet moody.
After settling in and grabbing a drink at the bar, I could no longer ignore the alluring performance on stage. A powerful one-woman show, seductive and soulful vocals were delicately woven into hard and heavy, hip-hop 808 bass. I was hypnotized and immediately became a fan of Hanna Benn, whom I later had the pleasure of meeting (who was extremely humbled and seems like an amazing person). Following Benn, the groovy and eccentric Sinkane brought everyone to the floor, on their feet dancing. The band succeeded in sparking an energy that remained present for the headlining band that everyone was waiting for, Son Lux.
The talented-trio entered the stage upon dimmed lighting and a heavy, menacing, warping bassline. It was a perfect intro for such an epic performance to come, a performance that I admittedly had some very high expectations for. I hoped that the band would be able to capture the same intensity and heavenly sound that t hey accomplished on all of their albums.
Lott’s vocals instantly put any doubt to rest. Lott not only nailed all of the difficult notes, but he carried the same impenetrable and chilling passion, that I’ve become familiar with being a fan, throughout the show. Chang and Bhatia were also just as impressive with their respective instruments, each given their own time to shine.
The band played “Easy” early on, which of course got the crowd in a roar of excitement. However, I think it was “Stolen” that really brought the band to its peak that it continued to ride until the end. The entire crowd swayed to the eerie picking and plucking sounds that were interrupted by bursts of energy. Following that, Lott absolutely went in when belting out “YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL”, during “You Don’t Know Me”; so much so that he had to leave his keyboard at times just to take in the moment and dance to the music Chang and Bhatia were orchestrating.
For “Dream State”, Son Lux’s most recent single and one of my absolute most favorite songs released last year, Lott got the entire crowd to sing, creating a beautiful backing vocal-harmony perfect for Lott’s powerful screams.
To my delight, Son Lux finished their set with my favorite song of theirs’, “Lost It To Trying”. The performance perfectly encapsulated Son Lux and what makes them a truly great band. Even through the insane experimental instrumentation, there is a sense of nostalgia, and ultimately an undeniable feeling of divine and celestial, which in my opinion, most accurately describes Son Lux’s indescribable sound. And if capturing, modernizing, and mastering the sound of divine and celestial on a 15 by 15 foot stage doesn’t make you one of the greatest bands of 2018, then I don’t know what does.
Shot & Written by : Morgan Hart