Last night (July 1, 2015), the LA based electronic act LEX put on an incredible showcase at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC).
A fully realized performance, it included a thematic arc with lights, costumes and super tight musicianship. Rather than just running through songs at random, the set-list was impeccably designed to draw you into their world and tell you their story. Opening with a dark stage, a heart beat kick drum and a brooding bass synth, creating a tense atmosphere while a voice-over gave us a taste of their mythology before the band burst into an intricate, slinky groove.
Draped in hooded funeral robes, the band began to display their considerable talents, with each member contributing equally to the surprisingly full sound, which was free from any backing tracks or laptops. For electronic music, the decision to rely solely on live instrumentation as they did here can be risky, but they pulled it off with aplomb. Throughout the night, not a single beat was dropped nor any notes misplaced, which is an impressive feat given the relatively complex nature of their songs. As their story unfolded, the lights became more intense and their grim-reaper robes were replaced with cleverly designed shiny white leotards that lit up and sparkled without ever distracting from the music.
While it’s clear that the whole show has been perfected through rehearsal, it still maintained a vibrant and lively energy, with a strong connection between the band, the audience and the music. The songs themselves were well crafted and varied enough to maintain interest throughout the set, yet perfectly cohesive, going from darkly atmospheric to seductive, fun, aggressive and militaristic. They find a perfect balance between club friendly grooves and evocative rainy day songs. Each member is incredibly talented, yet never showy, with vintage synths providing a warm, nostalgic feel, electric bass providing a funky core to the songs and tight backing vocals to support front woman Alexis De La Rocha’s powerful voice.
Despite lyrics that got a little dramatic for my taste (which normally don’t include concept albums), they worked great in context with the performance. The spectacular light show (designed by Martin Phillips, known for his work with Daft Punk) and the gorgeous costumes designed by the Zamora Sisters both amplified the atmosphere without ever getting in the way of the music. All in all, LEX put on an amazing, powerful and fun show and I look forward to seeing where they go next with it.