A year after reaching breakout status, Lucius, an indie pop band still on a musical upswing, will take the stage in Rochester Sunday in its Down by the Riverside concert series.
The band features mirror-image front women, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, whose haunting and lilting musical style has captured a growing legion of fans. Indeed, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is among the band’s notable fans.
The opening band will be Henry James Patterson.
After forming in 2005, the five-member Brooklyn band released its popular album “Wildewoman” in 2013. That same year, Rolling Stone called them “the best band you may not have heard yet,” but judging from the critical praise the band has been getting, that apparently is no longer the case. The album has garnered plaudits from the New York Times, the Guardian and NPR.
Surveys of audience members at Riverside concerts and Riverside’s own research helped identify it as a band with a growing following in the area. Their fan base has spread as their music, which is regularly played on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current And Triple A Rock Radio, has spread.
“We’ve been attempting to do a little more envelope-pushing on one of the seven nights,” said Chris Alcott, assistant general manager of Riverside Concerts.
The band also features Dan Molad (drums and vocals), Peter Lalish (guitar and vocals) and Andrew Burri (guitar, drums and vocals).
Wolfe, who grew up in Los Angeles, and Laessing, who was raised in Cleveland, met and became friends while attending the Berklee School of Music. Determined to forge a musical career, they moved to Brooklyn to hone their craft, reportedly living in an old Victorian home that had a 60-year-old recording studio.
“It’s been a wild couple of years, really exhausting, but also a really special experience, seeing the world while doing something that we love,” said Wolfe, in a recent article for the Georgia Straight. a Vancouver news and entertainment weekly, during their appearance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival last month.
But success didn’t come overnight. The band spent years in its own artistic wilderness, singing and developing their music, going through bandmates and releasing a now-forgotten debut album.
But with the release of “Wildewoman,” things began to turn for Lucius. The band has been on the road for the last year and half, building their fan base with their genre-roaming musical style.
Laessig and Wolfe make a visually arresting impression on stage, obsessively dressed and turned out in identical clothing, make-up and hairstyle (They are so devoted to the double-image effect that they make hair salon appointments together).
But it is their songs, such as “Turn it Around,” “Don’t Just Sit There,” and “Tempest,” that have won them a following. Early on, the two realized they sounded better singing together and in unison rather when one was providing harmony.
“If I wasn’t doing music, I’d be in bad shape,” Laessig said. “All this is definitely worth it. And I really couldn’t picturing doing anything else.”