20th January was Blue Monday, commonly accepted to be the most depressing day of the year. But by Friday night, spirits have apparently lifted, as a bustling near-capacity crowd have congregated in the Workman’s Club to see Brooklyn-based, composer/producer Son Lux. Born Ryan Lott, he is joined on tour in support of his latest release Lanterns, by guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. The bespectacled trio are welcomed onstage with adoring cheers from the audience and they launch straight into the opening track ‘Alternate World’. Anyone daring to speak above a whisper is met with insistent hushing from all around.
Dressed in a simple black v-neck t-shirt and black jeans, Lott drifts in and out of a trance-like state as he alternates between his keyboard and laptop computer, creating the trippy and engaging electronic sounds which accompany his heartfelt and distinct lyrics. On a minimalistic drum kit, Chang contributes catchy, unorthodox beats, with the pounding bass echoing throughout the 160-year-old building. Overall, the sound is clear and loud, without being deafeningly so, despite the bass vibrations being strong enough to cause pint glasses to rattle and fall.
Between tracks, Son Lux are praised with plentiful hoots and applause from the audience, many of whom are obviously familiar with his music, new and old. When Lott introduces ‘Stay’ from his 2008 debut At War With Walls & Mazes, an appreciative and respectful hush falls over the crowd, and those breaching the silence are dutifully scorned by their neighbours. We are treated to some entertaining, curious playing techniques as Bhatia plays a guitar solo with his tongue and Chang plays the drums bare-handed. Even Lott tilts his keyboard away from him at an almost unreachable angle; but this particular contortion turns out to be an unintentional loosening of the support stand.
Seizing opportunities to interact with the fans in this intimate venue, Ryan proudly announces that it is an honour to be here in Dublin and brings glad tidings from Brooklyn. This is met with one audience member declaring his love for Ryan, to which he responds “Thanks, dude. That is a dude, right?” and flashes his wedding ring in an apologetic fashion. Some particularly clued-in fans shout birthday wishes to Ryan, and the venue erupts into a spontaneous chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ with his bandmates providing the backing track. Thanking the audience for an awesome birthday he regretfully announces that they must soon leave to play two gigs in France the next day.
Ending the show with a one-song solo encore of ‘Lanterns Lit’, Lott takes a bow to well-deserved rapturous applause. It was an unexpected pleasure to experience this act; performed with contagious excitement and carefree enthusiasm which was shared with their contented audience.