Show Review: The Love Lights at The Rogue Hero

I showed up at The Rogue Hero a bit after midnight, right before The Love Lights took the stage for their CD release party. Over the last three years, The Love Lights have become one of the most popular bands in Bellingham (check out the feature on them in What’s up! Magazine), and the bar was crowded—late as I was, I could only see their heads as they kicked into a raucous set.

The Love Lights were born as an indie three piece with Rob Stauffer on vocals and guitar, Ben and Jeff Ballew (brothers) on guitar and bass respectively, and electronic drums looped through an iPod hooked up to the PA system. The band really found its footing when Alex O’Farrell and his live drums joined up, then Sarah Jerns, Diana Dizard, Jeremiah Austin completed The Love Light’s sound with a three-piece horn section.

For a seven person band, the arrangements are surprisingly tight, defined by the band’s wide musical vocabulary. The Love Lights sound part indie—with Ben’s skitchy, too-hot guitar work and Rob’s sometimes shouted, sometimes crooned vocals—and part Motown—with the wailing horn section and Jeff’s funked out bass—like if The Arcade Fire were fronted by the ghost of James Brown, or Carole King’s horn section worked for The Strokes.

And man, do they put on a great show. Their energy was through the roof—the whole band sang along with every song, with everybody stomping, sweating, rocking hard. The audience pumped fists and danced. Since it was a CD release party, The Love Lights’ set consisted mostly of cuts off their new album Young Lions, their second full-length album. After a sweaty, powerful show, the lights came on, the band left the stage and the bar emptied, but those super-catchy hooks and horn parts haven’t left my head since. If you can make it to a show from The Love Lights, I highly recommend them. Bring yer dancing shoes.

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~ by Ian D. on April 21, 2008.

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