It’s not often that you come across an artist and know right off the bat that you’ve just found your new favorite band. Maybe you’ve grown obsessed with one particular song, but to find an entire album that’s damn near flawless… Now, that’s rare.
Before discovering Lo-Fang, this had only happened to me once before, with Local Natives in 2009. I’ve stood by their music knowing that they were doing something different. Something entirely unique and important. These days, I’m exposed to more new music than I can keep up with and while there are plenty of good bands out there, they’re usually comparable to something I’ve heard before.
Then I met Lo-Fang and I swear to you my life will never be the same.
Matthew Hemerlein possesses the talent of a small band in his pinky finger. A master of guitar, cello, bass, violin and piano, Hemerlein provided all of the instrumentation on his debut album Blue Film. In a random turn of events that further encourage the notion that timing is everything, Lo-Fang was picked up to support Lorde on her North American tour this year. Needless to say, playing sold-out shows across the country has skyrocketed Hemerlein’s fame and I’m personally very thrilled to see him popping up at more venues.
The Los Angeles-native kicked off a series of shows sans Lorde Wednesday night at West Hollywood’s iconic Troubadour. It was sold-out. It was crowded. It was epic.
Visible only by sensually dim lighting, Hemerlein crooned so sweetly through nearly every song in his catalog, including a well-received cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony” in addition to “You’re the One That I Want.” Fan-favorite “#88” danced on the tongues of those familiar and induced a collective sway among the audience. Hemerlein’s violin plucking, that is often so entrancing it transports you to another world entirely, was exceptionally hypnotizing on “Permutations.”
After an album so meticulously constructed, it may have seemed unlikely for Lo-Fang to set the bar higher for his live performances. And yet, he does. The R&B-meets-classical meld that Lo-Fang has perfected is further enunciated by heavy bass that thuds right into your core. His caramel vocals hover beautifully in tone and add warmth to the sometimes unsettling subject matter he sings about. Timid performer, Hemerlein is not.
Lo-Fang’s set flowed from one track to the next with admirable transitions and the occasional humble remark to the audience. Just as we’d settled into our aural-induced buzz, the band was off the stage, leaving us drooling for just one more song.
For anyone who wasn’t familiar with Lo-Fang before Wednesday night, he’s certain to be all they’ll talk about far after the post-concert tingles wear off. If you want in on that feeling, go see Lo-Fang.
Lo-Fang Tour Dates
3 – Casbah – San Diego, CA *
15 & 16 – The Pool, The Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, NV #
17 – Comerica Theatre – Phoenix, AZ #
19 – Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO *
21 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO *
22 – Double Happiness – Columbus, OH *
24 – Rhode Island College – Providence, RI !
26 – Sixth & I Historic Synagogue – Washington, DC *
27 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY *
30 – Great Scott – Allston, MA *
1 – The Drake – Toronto, ON *
2 – Schubas Tavern – Chicago, IL *
3 – 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN *
6 – Barboza – Seattle, WA *
7 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR *
* with Kate Berlant
# with Lorde
! with Timeflies