Webster Hall, New York City • 12/7/13
When I first mentioned that I was going to see Luscious Jackson this December, the first thing I heard from several people were, "Wow, are they still around?" I have to give an exuberant "YES!" after seeing the great alternative dance pop band (now a trio without Vivian Trimble) of Jill Cunniff, Gaby Glaser, and Kate Schellenbach at NYC's Webster Hall - their second live concert in 13 years.
With Magic Hour, Luscious Jackson revisited their early funk party days during the '90's In Search of Manny and Natural Ingredients days with Cuniff and Glaser trading vocals over Schellenbach's uncanny urban-funk inspired drum grooves. It sounded great back then, and it still sounds great now.
Admittedly the first third of the set was a bit clunky in transitioning between songs - showing that the long sidelined hiatus showed some rustiness in their stage show. Schellenbach gave 4 beat stick counts as a lead-in for about half of the songs, and a couple of minutes delay for some. At one point, the delay before "Are You Ready" was so long with the re-tuning and sound check, that Glaser joked, "I guess we're not quite ready." But when you have a packed crowd of die-hard fans, all is forgiven. And, like riding a bike, once the song did start, the ladies were spot on and did not miss a beat. Moreover, as the set progressed, the band settled nicely into their groove.
By the middle of the set, they clearly got their mojo back, effortlessly jammed, and genuinely enjoyed the moment. They exuded the party-vibe and with songs like "Naked Eye" and "Deep Shag", the fans soaked up every bit of it. An open invitation to come up and dance to some of the songs packed the stage with excited fans - the first midway through their 70 minute set for the booty shaking groove, "#1 Bum", and for the set closer, "City Song." After a short break and a three song encore, the happy trio thanked all their loyal fans, and left everyone clamoring for more as the house lights flooded the floor to clear out.
It seems like such a teaser to be writing a review for a concert that you won't get to see anytime soon. Luscious Jackson is not fully promoting Magic Hour with an extensive tour so that they can dedicate time for their family. It's like they just wanted to put something out to test the waters and see if something sticks. If the crowd-funding for Magic Hour was any indication, fans definitely want them back. And with so many other '80s and '90s bands peppering our music venues with reunion tours, Luscious Jackson stands out as one to see. The ladies have mentioned possibly doing festivals if there's demand. So with that, ask for them by name and get them out to play in your town.