Just last September, the Glaswegian indie-rock band Lucia & The Best Boys released their debut album Burning Castles, binding lead singer Lucia’s fiercely empowering vocals to a passionate, yet delicate energy supplied by the “Best Boys.” The album release follows the success of two EPs in 2020 titled Eternity and The State of Things.
The lights in the Pink Room dimmed as a hazy red hue took the stage, anticipating the arrival of the five musicians. An eerie, high-pitched melody from their album’s opening song ‘Butterflies’ silenced the crowd as we waited in suspense for the Glaswegians to kick off the Mancunian leg of their tour. And kick it off they did.
“You make me feel good inside,” the opening lyrics from ‘Butterflies’, introduced us to Lucia’s deeply rich vocals, accompanied by the gradual escalation of drums and an ’80s-sounding bass synth which reverberated around every pocket within the pink walls. A truly electric atmosphere came as a result of a newer, punchy, electronic sound.
The punchiness of this sound was magnified as the band continued with their second song: ‘When You Dress Up’, to which Lucia unveiled her rhythmic talents through an impressive and deeply impactful percussive performance. Lucia’s assertive vocals, “I’ll show you what I’m made of,” were repeated alongside the hammering of her own drum, hammering the importance of her lyrics onto us. This powerful combination captures the essence of their debut album completely: a pulse-raising, self-empowering record with a heavy side of rock.
As the crowd applauded the performance, Lucia greeted their enthusiasm with “f*ck me this is kinda crazy.” She mused on how she wouldn’t rather their first Manchester headline show be anywhere else than with us. Lucia’s charm melted the distinction between performer and audience. Her humble character shone through as she laughed and joked with us, particularly when she interrupted her delicate appreciation for her home to remind herself that she needed to play the glockenspiel in the upcoming song. “This glockenspiel was nicked from a primary school” encapsulated her quick-wittedness, met with a sea of enthusiastic laughter from people who probably hadn’t seen a glockenspiel since primary school themselves.
Needless to say, Lucia is a woman of many talents, layering the band’s more acoustic ‘Somewhere in Heaven’ with a blast from the past. I certainly know I’ve never heard a glockenspiel sound so heavenly, nor actually played well for that matter.
Played live for only the second time ever, the band’s ethereal and heart-breaking ‘Hurt Somebody You Love’ echoed through our veins. A song that encompasses the grief and unfathomable pain of a breakup, Lucia humoured afterwards, “I’m sure I’ve just put you all in the wrong mood,” offering her empathy to those in the room who could resonate with the heartache that the song perfectly encompasses.
Proving themselves as an enigmatic band to watch live, their high tempo ‘Good Girls Do Bad Things’ lifted the energy as Lucia herself stepped into the crowd, singing directly to audience members. Amongst us, the connection between the band and the audience felt intimate, despite the relentless pounding of the drums from Ally Scott.
A firm favourite amongst the audience, the theatricality of ‘Perfectly Untrue’ (the first song on their The State of Things EP) and its captivating chorus charged the audience with electricity, so much so that Lucia encouraged us to sing a chorus ourselves. Lucia’s opera gloves conducted us to echo her lyrics back to her, and the 250-capacity venue was filled with the singing of a well and truly engaged audience. This energy pulsated throughout the next songs, particularly ‘Summertime’, to which the audience’s singing adjusted to the darker and moodier rendition.
Lucia & The Best Boys concluded their gig with ‘Care’, their electronic-led tune which encapsulated the night perfectly – a night that was full of power-driven vocals alongside fresh sounding instrumentals from Adam on guitar, Haydn (who was the opening act ‘Last Boy’ that joined them for the gig) on keys, Ally on drums, and Chris on bass.
After the gig, the band stayed and talked, signed records, and posed for photos with the audience. I asked Lucia what word she would use to sum up their first headline show in Manchester and, after some laughing about the pressure of my question, she decided on “euphoric”. Indeed, euphoria comes to mind when I think about the gig too, a truly special show put on by seriously talented musicians. We also talked about the band’s favourite pastimes in Manchester, revealing that the “Best Boys” have a passionate love for Bundobust, where Lucia had no doubt that the boys would be visiting the next day. We left the Pink Room truly enamoured by the band and their impactful performance.
Lucia & The Best Boys are on tour until the 23rd November, culminating with their homecoming show in Glasgow.