“We’re glad you’re back!” shouted an enthusiastic fan at the El Rey Theatre on Friday night. It had been 14 years since Luscious Jackson played L.A., but Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser and Kate Schellenbach (plus a couple of extra live members), played a whopping 18-song set that sent everybody straight back to the ’90s. With tunes spanning their six-album career – including their “Greatest Hits” album and their 2013 record “Magic Hour” – Luscious Jackson proved that taking a hiatus to settle down with families certainly didn’t mean they weren’t going to come back in full force.
- ||| Photos by Carl Pocket
To prove it, the band opened up with “Here,” an appropriate starter as Cunniff sweetly sang “Here I come / You can’t stop me now/ I will be the one that keeps you around.” It was an upbeat number that also boasted Glaser’s groovy chants of “Get on the floor / Let’s dance some more,” and fans were more than happy to follow instructions. In fact, dancing proved appropos to the night no matter where Luscious Jackson’s music detoured – hip-hop, psychedelia, pop, punk and house.
Not even one moment of silence was allowed, with DJ ADW Young providing snippets of music in between songs. Movement, fluidity and liveliness was encouraged as Luscious Jackson weaved in and out of songs such as “Daughters of the Kaos” (from “In Search of Manny”), “Show Us What You Got” (from “Magic Hour”), “Naked” (from “Fever In Fever Out”), “Ladyfingers” (from “Electric Honey”) and much more.
Cunniff’s dulcet tones never rang more clearly, and Glaser’s smokey vocals were even more hypnotizing than on record. Performing songs they had written together over the years clearly gave the two an adrenaline rush as well, and they seized the moment to make sure the energy was reciprocated. “#1 Bum” called for all male volunteers to come and dance on stage with – what else – their bums and only their bums to the audience. Not even an obnoxious fan with his camera in Glaser’s face could bring their high down. Females also got their chance to shake it on stage as the band closed out their main set with “City Song” (which also happens to be the name of their label), a perfect fit considering lyrics like “I just get my friends together / and we dance, dance, dance.”
Sweaty with endorphins still rushing through their veins, the crowd wasn’t going to let Luscious Jackson go just yet. “You guys are beautiful!” Cunniff exclaimed as she and the band returned for an encore. Reaching back into their catalog again for “Why Do I Lie?,” “Satellite” and “Surprise,” it served as a nice cool-down.
The night preceded with DJ ADW Young spinning a set, followed by Luscious Jackson’s long-time pal Money Mark, who dazzled with futuristic beats made with old-school equipment.