27th September | Exchange

There’s something distinctly timeless about La Luz’s sound; the nonchalant, meandering guitar chords and hazy atmosphere along with perfect, honeyed harmonies bear an undercurrent of the dark and distorted. There’s a certain swaggering attitude present, dreamy and determined. And with that they evoke a cinematic quality, kind of like if David Lynch directed a Western film.

La Luz’s layers of wavering psychedelia soar, wavering and mirage-like. And into this setting, the blues-tinged folk-rock of Peggy Sue fits rather aptly. It’s also refreshing to have two such incredible bands that happen to be all-female and female-fronted respectively. The vocal harmonies of Rosa Slade and Katy Young, aka Peggy Sue, are instantly mesmerising, abounding in rich, silky texture and depth, captivating a very packed-out, receptive Exchange. With dulcet melodies and meandering rhythms, they evoke a dreamy sense of longing. Their enthralling, glistening sounds saunter and sway with such serenity that any stresses of the day fall away with ease and all that seems to matter is the rather idyllic present.

With the very welcome return of Peggy Sue having set an atmosphere of excitement already, anticipation is high as La Luz step up, opening with heady, reverb-filled riffs of ‘Floating Features’. And subsequently, without a moment’s hesitation, they delve into the swelling, pulsing ‘Cicada’ with soaring harmonies and glorious psychedelia. There’s a modest grandeur in the way the four of them so deftly craft such expansive soundscapes that glisten with hazy nostalgia. The thunderous drum intro of ‘You Disappear’ rumbles along rapidly before slowing to a canter, the agility with which they play with tempo coming to the fore, whilst ‘The Creature’ sees guitarist Shana Cleveland and bassist Lena Simon side-stepping in perfect unison, swaying with the lilting, idling rhythms.

Conveying a very comfortable on-stage presence, a reflection of how at ease they all are with each other, the atmosphere the band create is very much amiable and communal with the audience. Chatting and joking amongst themselves and the crowd in between songs, there’s something incredibly uninhibited and organic about their interactions and the way the evening progresses. At one point, there’s a slight confusion as to which track’s up next on their set-list, with Cleveland launching into ‘What Good Am I?’.

She quips, “welcome to the sixth week of tour,” continuing “I think the spirit of Sun Ra was telling me to play that song.” It’s received with a loud cheer. And with that they continue into the wavering, resonant daze of the aforementioned track, their doo-wop harmonies delivered with dulcet perfection. ‘Sunstroke’ follows closely after, with its eerie funfair-esque keys and wah-wah guitar tones, very much evoking the feeling of a bizarre, suspense-filled chase scene.

Playing a repertoire of tracks from across their three records, what’s particularly striking is the way in which La Luz have so impressively honed a sound that feels instantly classic, drawing on and expanding influences to purvey a fresh, contemporary perspective whilst also channelling the influential environment, and fertile music scene, of Seattle that the band have nurtured their sound within. As their set draws to close, it’s fair to say that everyone in the audience is very much enchanted and entrenched in La Luz’s blissful sonic terrain. Let’s hope it’s not too long ‘til they return.