Jun 10, 2014
The Lucent Dossier Experience at The Concord Music Hall on June 7, 2014
I invited Liv, my friend’s 21-year-old niece and my summer sitter to join me to see LDE. To manage expectations I told her that the show appeared to be an amalgamation of Cirque de Soleil meets the circus meets vaudeville meets “Eyes Wide Shut” and might be a bit on the weird side. My friend, Liv’s aunt, cautioned me that “Liv is a 50 year younger version of my mother (Liv’s grandmother) and is conservative” just in case I wanted to rethink and revoke my invitation. I took the chance, afterall I was not expecting it to be some type of underground sex club since it was advertised and at a regular time at a regular club. Not that I know anything about sex clubs so I am likely not the best source.
The show had two opening DJ’s (Radiohiro and Searchlite) starting at 9pm. I am not much for opening DJ’s generally unless they are the main event. These two seemed somewhat uninspired, playing singular beats without much thought to layering. I also need lyrics to enjoy the beats but there were none. As Liv aptly put it, “it should be more of a medley” of sound. No one was paying them much attention and no dancing/body movement was observed.
The LDE started around 10:15 with live drum and electric guitar enhanced original electronica techno/dubstep music, belly baring female dancers, two male dancers, aerialist and a singer. LDE is known for enlisting the talents of a variety of performers, almost without limit. Some shows have flame throwers and tarot card readers in the audience. Based on the ceiling height of the Concord Music Hall and the lack of evidence of any advance set up, we could not figure out prior to the show where an aerialist would perform. They managed to attach a hitch to one of the stage lights and it fortunately was secure enough to hold the weight of the performer.
The costumes, hair and makeup were on the macabre and halloweenish side. The costumes created in LDE are known for use of recycled objects such as feathers and bones and the use of airbrushed tribal body art. Hair was teased and in disarray, tulle wedding type dresses were scrunched and cut short and designed with some sort of duct-like tape in the bodice. Sort of Bridezilla meets “insert B movie horror film”. Elsewhere the style has been described as an “other worldly, haute couture” vibe. Obviously many LDE fans were in the audience and this was not their first rodeo. Some were dressed with fantastical hair, feather/hair vests, tribal make-up and belly baring harem pants. Clearly the troupe merits followers and repeat show goers.
The music was loud (especially the base) but I was shamed by my young friend when I mentioned considering the possible use of my ear plugs. If you don’t like electronic music you need not venture here either. If you appreciate modern dance and hip-hop, you are safe to join in the experience. Each dance is open to interpretation but for the most part had a sexual theme (still not a sex club or live sex act folks) although the individual pieces are not woven together into any coherent story line. Dancers were ushered on stage on a gurney for several of the dances. One of the first pieces featured a more endowed female dancer dressed in white. She was wheeled out by her male counterpart via gurney. The prop was a white, light weight, billowy sheet. The dance appeared to portray a wedding night fantasy/nightmare depicting the female trying to escape her male lover with the sheet frantically being whipped up and down as if a gale force wind were coming through a window. At this point Liv turned to me and said “this is weird”. To which I replied, “Oh Liv, you ARE so conservative”. Tongue-in-cheek. We laughed.
Another dance appeared to tell the story of rebuking unwanted sexual advances, both male/female and female/female. This one was more on the humorous side. Throughout, the dancers were very expressive, each acting out their parts and using facial contortions to highlight thoughts and emotion. Another memorable dance involved one of the more lean and limber female dancers being brought on stage on the gurney wrapped inside a white lacy weblike “cocoon”. The male dancer poured water on her from a bowl until she was soaking wet. She then slowly broke her way through her cocoon freeing herself and entering the world. My interpretation of this piece was that this represented birth, the water being the amniotic fluid (OK, not rocket science but I still want credit for my figuring out the riddle). The dancer was “clothed” in panties and a sheer bra as she entered the world and discovered and became aware of her body. Needless to say, this was the mostly nude part of the show.
Interspersed throughout the dances was a reprieve by the aerialist who I suspected was transgender. This was not confirmed but just a hunch. She demonstrated her aerial prowess as she hung from the stage light and twirled from various devices including a pole, aerial rope and aerial silk. The company’s artistic director and creator is Dream Rockwell. She sang, alongside the aerialist performance, during the show. I had a hard time hearing the lyrics because there was so much base and reverb on stage. It was next to impossible to listen to be able to fairly critique her vocals. I did not think that her vocals were loud enough to fully appreciate what talent might exist but I suspect that, this being her “joie de vive”, the vocal performance might be somewhat gratuitous.
All in all, the show was entertaining and the dancers are indeed talented. I suspect in a more appropriate space, this could be quite an elaborate show. Each show appears to be different and includes varying types and numbers of performers depending on the venue. Tonight was a more spare show only procuring the most essential pieces. The troupe, hailing from Los Angeles, has performed consistently at Coachella, Lollapalooza, clubs and many corporate events. I have learned that some of the performers are featured in commercials and videos including “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” performed by the band Panic! At The Disco, a fantastic video. So, possibly this is not a show that would be loved by the most meek, prudish, or conservative, it is however creative and provocative. You might however want to think twice before bringing your grandmother but I think it is safe to bring someone younger even if she comes with a slightly conservative reputation. On the other hand, if I brought my grandmother, she would have called me the conservative one.