One of the many things we love about partnering with and attending Seattle Living Room Shows and Seattle Secret Shows is the live discovery of emerging artists. We have said this many times before but sometimes you don’t know what you are going to get when you attend one of these shows but rest assured, you can be guaranteed that is is going to be brilliant. You might discover an artist you didn’t know about, or you might see an artist you already know and love, but in an unusual and intimate setting. We call that a no-lose proposition.
We have had the opportunity to cover some great shows at all of the top venues in the Northwest and beyond. Lawrence is one of those bands that just strolled into town and proceeded to blow the roof off the joint, with some sophisticated and masterfully performed American soul and funk music – complete with a tight and smokin’ horn section. We can’t believe that this kind of original, authentic pop and soul came from a bunch kids out of New York – who looked like they just came out of a college study group. These kids? Making this music? Damn!
The band’s namesake comes from the fact that the fresh-faced duo that front the band happen to be brother and sister. Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are the product of an artistic showbiz family. Their parents raised them right with a steady diet of Janice Joplin, Etta James, Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, Johnny Lang, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Throw in a little Randy Newman for effect here and you have the makings of one of the best outfits we have ever seen grace a stage anywhere in and around The Emerald City.
Lawrence put on a stunning show, giving fans a healthy and heaping serving of selections off of their new release, Breakfast and we are here to tell you – it is good in the morning, evening or pretty much anytime. This outfit is wise beyond their years. These are young artists but old souls, playing a brand of pop and soul music typically reserved for musicians who have spent years honing their craft, playing in recording studios and on the road.
You couldn’t find a bunch of more talented, authentic and unpretentious group of musicians doing what they love, loving what they do. Moreover, Lawrence is shining the spotlight on the great artists who came before them, whose shoulders they have stood upon to make great music. Not only does Lawrence know how to make a great record, they can take those numbers and pump even more soul and energy into the songs during their live performance. Their energy and impeccable chops grab the audience (who range across wide demographic spectrum), in the palm of their sweaty hands to celebrate the joy and majesty of perfectly executed pop and soul music. No computers, no samples, no auto-tune here folks – just a bunch of young artists who know how to play their instruments and sing in world-class fashion.
Many artists try to follow the blue eyed soul/pop path but lack the authenticity to reach a broader audience and maintain artistic credibility. Lawrence successfully finds the proper balance. They do their thing in a unique way and they do it right. This is a special band destined for great things (Lawrence has recently been added to the Bonnaroo lineup). They are in good hands, as they are managed by our friend BJ Olin. BJ guided hometown favorite Allen Stone to greatness for eight years. With the talent that he has to work with here, he is going to have a lot of fun with these cats.
Megan Wilde opened for Lawrence and was the perfect compliment to them by bringing her own soulful style and wowing the audience in her own right. Wilde was backed by Nick Molenda (HARPS) on drums Harry Wirth on bass and Larson Haakenstad on guitar. You can see Megan play again very soon at Band in Seattle on April 21st, and tickets to the taping can be purchased here.
Seattle Secret Show mainstay and mix master DJ Indica Jones provided some amazing mixes and mashups throughout the evening, a perfect compliment to the evening’s love performances.
Prior to the Wilde and Lawrence performances, we sat on the rooftop of the venue to talk to Lawrence about their sound and influences. The video was produced by SMI contributor and partner, Jason Tang.