It's always memorable to see a band during a transitional phase, as was the case last night at Three Links in Deep Ellum, where La Luz played their first Dallas show. Incidentally, it will also be the last time we see the current incarnation of the band, what we will later refer to as their original lineup. Just this Tuesday, bassist Abbey Blackwell took to the Seattle-based, all girl, surf rock quartet's Facebook page to announce that after this brief stretch of tour dates, she will be leaving the band. Blackwell cited a distaste for tour life, as well as a desire to return to her orchestral background as her reasoning for moving on. Though a certain amount of tension between Blackwell and her band mates was palpable, it by no means put a damper on an otherwise incredibly fun live music experience.
A good sized crowd filled out the Elm Street venue nicely for such a cold and bitter evening. The sweater and flannel-clad arrived pretty early, leaving little doubt that a sizable portion of the audience was there to see openers Pure Bathing Culture. The Portland based duo was joined on stage by bassist Zach Tillman and drummer Brian Wright, who rounded out the live sound of their blissed-out pop ballads.
Lead singer and keyboardist Sarah Versprille is hard to take your eyes off of. The throaty quiver of her voice is one you won't soon forget. Pure Bathing Culture makes the kind of music that sounds like it was made for beach vacations, but is most often used on long lazy Sundays in bed. Versprille's vocals bring just the necessary amount of sincerity and authenticity to the band's slowed down, drawn out, and highly dramatized romance in the style of Sade instrumentals and John Hughes movies. Pure Bathing Culture is like a long hot shower, or blowing bubbles on your front porch: disarming, but not overly saccharine.