Scenes From Last Night's Awesome La Luz and Pure Bathing Culture Show at Three Links.
Last night's show at Three Links was, to put things rather succinctly, great. It just really, really was.
And it was something of an underdog on this night, too. Deep Ellum was alive with activity on this Tuesday night, thanks in no small part to that Phil Anselmo semi-homecoming gig across the way at Trees and a nearly sold-out show from power pop outfit Lucius down the way at Dada. From an attendance stand-point, Three Links' show didn't — couldn't — match up.
But as for payoff? It's tough to imagine that either of those other affairs were as rewarding as this one proved itself to be for the 100 or so attendees that showed up for it.
It started beautifully: Without much ado, the two-piece, Portland-based Pure Bathing Culture, bolstered by two added touring members simply walked onto the Three Links stage, gorgeously lit up by a handful of upward-facing lights scattered about the performance space, and launched into it lush sonic display. PBC's sound is undoubtedly a backward-facing one, but the pedigree of its catalog — which comes off like every great slow '80s pop ballad you ever secretly or not-so-secretly adored — is undeniable. There's not much energy or antics at play in a PBC show, but there's no need; the music does all the heavy lifting, every single bit of it, and no one's complaining because, hey, who doesn't love “Time After Time” or songs that sound just like it? No one who attended this show, it seems.
Instead, it was love at first listen here — and very much so an introduction, as the bulk of this crowd seemed to have arrived at this show ready to revel in the far more revved-up, surf-pop energy of the show's headliner, La Luz. Still, thanks in no small part to an incredible crisp mix coming through the P.A., the crowd melted — so much so that it seemed as if there was no way that La Luz could possibly follow this showing.
At one point, La Luz acknowledged this arguable point: As PBC vocalist Sarah Versprille thanked La Luz for touring alongside her band, La Luz's players laughed the gratitude away in the back of the room, near their merchandise table.
“They're not that good,” La Luz drummer Marian Li Pino self-deprecatingly announced about her own band, just above her breath, to those within earshot.
Ah, but they are: It can't be an easy task touring alongside such an impeccably tight act as PBC for weeks at a time, but La Luz handles that task with marvelous gumption, resting on their bouncy sounds, somewhat choreographed, “Addicted To Love”-like performance moves, and their charming personas. There's no doubting it: It takes a certain level of charisma to request that a crowd split itself into to factions so as to open up a Soul Train dancing line. But La Luz has it — that ever-elusive, undefinable “it.”
So does PBC.
So did this whole night.