Just as hip hop’s infamous boy band seem to multiply on stage — feeding off each other’s performances and coalescing into a hive of energy that seems to either contain 1 or 20 people — Lawrence seemed to grow stronger the more they played through their set at the Blind Pig last Monday night.
Coming from New York City, the eight-member band was originally formed by siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence. Pulling from a wild mix of influences, Lawrence weaves together brass instrumentals, tight keyboard-driven rhythms and upbeat melodies to create a spontaneous fusion of musical genres; Aretha Franklin soul shakes hands with Carly Rae Jepsen pop, and the resulting agreement that Lawrence manages to broker is nothing short of magical.
All eight band members are longtime childhood and college friends, and this closeness allows them to showcase their almost uncategorizable sound in the best way possible. Standing side by side, the audience could see the synergy between the members, passing smiles and refrains from one person to the next like the handwritten notes you would send your best friends in middle school geometry. The music simply flowed. And even though the small stage allowed little extravagant movement, the dynamic quality of the music itself turned the entirety of the Blind Pig into a retro dance floor.
The jazz undertones and lounge-pop bursts of “The Heartburn Song” started off the show with layered vocals and guitar chords that crooned, transforming the worn interior of the stage into an underground speakeasy: plush velvet booths and gilded chandeliers with tear-shaped crystals. It’s an aesthetic — a vibe, one could say — that continued throughout their performance. As Lawrence played songs from their newest album Living Room — “Friend or Enemy,” “Make a Move” and “Probably Up,” among others — as well as songs from their very first full album Breakfast — “Do You Want Nothing To Do with Me,” “Misty Morning” and “Shot” — they never lost touch of this transformative spark, consistently playing with such a level of passion that the crowd had no other option but to lose their feet in the rhythm and just dance.
The highlight of Lawrence’s performance came through a song that didn’t originate as one they created but still made completely their own. Halfway through the set, the first few familiar notes of “Get Busy” by Sean Paul graced our ears. Then the next few notes were completely drowned out due to the volume of the crowd’s scream of approval. Enthusiasm was high, and Lawrence was grooving, finding a way to repurpose the song to fit their own specific abilities and allowing each band member to contribute their own personal style. What brought each of the various components of the performance together, however, was the vocal powerhouse duo of the Lawrence siblings, turning the song kaleidoscopic, cascading down onto the crowd like a disco ball’s heavenly flash.