On January 30, indie group Lucius arrived at Burlington’s Higher Ground to play for a sold-out crowd. The band, consisting of frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig along with Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri, toured this winter in honor of the tenth anniversary of their debut album Wildewoman.
The crowd was buzzing as Higher Ground’s ballroom filled with fans. Lucius’s audience struck me as remarkably dedicated; fans traded notes on past shows, reminisced on following the band on tour, and raved about the impact Lucius has had on their lives. One fan showed me a photo of herself alongside Wolfe and Laessig nearly a decade ago.
Jeff Taylor, a longtime friend and collaborator of Lucius, opened the evening with a strong folk set. Taylor improvised and experimented over a solid foundation of his impressive vocals and guitar.
Lucius has long been known for their frontwomen’s matching outfits in primary colors, and on this tour, they leaned into both mirrors and primary colors as motifs in their set. Each of the backing band members dressed head to toe in a single primary color, while Wolfe and Laessig wore outfits that incorporated red, yellow, green, and blue, topped off with matching berets. And, of course, the duo sported their signature matching blonde bobs with bangs.
There is a true joy and satisfaction in watching a band that is so experienced and so familiar with one another that the set feels impeccably tight. Over the course of the evening, Lucius performed the entirety of Wildewoman interspersed with selections from their other albums. Opening with “Wildewoman” and “Turn it Around,” two of the most high-energy songs on the debut album, set the tone for an exceptional setlist.
Wolfe and Laessig have a remarkable ability to sing as one voice – a soaring soprano powering through high notes and navigating nuanced riffs. Their voices combine to create an entirely unique sound. At times, their voices diverge from the single strand they’ve created to weave mesmerizing harmonies, but they always return, somehow perfectly in sync.
The entire night was cast in a gaze of nostalgia, as Lucius thanked fans for being there to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Wildewoman. A highlight of the show came when Wolfe and Laessig dedicated time to reading notes that fans had left for them in a mailbox on the merch table. Though they read just a few letters out loud on stage, the pair promised that they would read each note after the show. The notes were largely stories of how audience members found Lucius’s music, and the people it has brought into their life; one of the band members proposed a drinking game of taking a shot each time a note said “and that’s how I met my…”
Another stand-out moment was Lucius moving to a single microphone to sing stripped down, intimate versions of “Hey Doreen,” “Nothing Ordinary,” “Housewarming,” and “Dusty Trails,” accompanied by opener Taylor.
At the end of the show, Lucius ventured into the crowd to play an acoustic version of their beloved “Two of Us on the Run.” The audience huddled in around them, arms around each other, in a truly magical moment. The final song of the night was a rousing cover of Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye,” also performed amidst the crowd.
Ten years after the release of their debut album, Lucius remains a force to be reckoned with. A decade has given them the experience, the fanbase, and the skill that made this show a true celebration.