Last year about this time, I was sitting in a lawn chair at Mayo Park, nursing an overpriced beer as storm clouds swept in.
I had set up in the park in an expectant and excited mood, ready to experience my first “Down by the Riverside” concert in Rochester. What had drawn me was Lucius, an indie pop group whose music I had fallen for the moment I heard it. I’m embarrassed to admit: I had lived in Rochester for 15 years, but had never once been to one of the popular Riverside concerts until the Lucius performance.
But the five-member band was rushed on stage as dark clouds menaced overhead. Two songs into its performance, it began to rain.
I folded up my lawn chair and slunk away like everyone else when the concert was canceled. I’m human. I felt disappointed. In the last 25-year history of Down by the Riverside, there had been only one other rain-out, and that was Jefferson Starship in 2007.
I later learned that Lucius had put on a brief impromptu concert in the rain, shielded by umbrella-armed fans.
I had been looking forward to the concert. I had been thrilled by the spine-tingly, high-powered vocals of the group’s singing duo, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe.
Lucius was the first band that excited me since, well, a long while. I had grown up on the Kinks, B-52s and other ‘80s and ‘90s groups. It was the music I cherished and associated with my youth. It was a musical comfort zone and a bit of a rut. Lucius had ended my sense of self-imposed exile from contemporary music, my nearly know-nothingness about it. (I still can’t tell the difference between a Kanye West song and a Drake song).
I was certain that there would be no return engagement for Lucius in Rochester. In 2013, Rolling Stone had named Lucius “the best band you may not have heard yet.” Lucius was in full breakout mode with the release of its “Wildewoman.” The band has since released a new album, “Good Grief.”
So when it was announced that Lucius would be indeed returning to Rochester, for a July 31 concert at 7 p.m., I was thrilled. And the weather? The prognosis right now is mostly positive: Sunny with a small chance of precipitation.