Soulful, nostalgic, heartwarming, one heck of a dance party: these are some words and a phrase used to describe LAWRENCE‘s performance at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on November 17, 2021.
LAWRENCE is an eight-piece soul-pop band led by sibling duo Clyde and Gracie, who has been writing music since they were kids. Having grown up listening to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, and Aretha Franklin, it’s no surprise the group put on a soul-filled show to remember.
Arriving at the Danforth Music Hall found a lineup of excited fans stretching down the Danforth, all the way to Broadview subway station. After squeezing through the crowd, ADDICTED’s Cassandra Popescu sat down with Clyde and Gracie backstage to talk about how surreal it feels to be performing for sold-out crowds again and to showcase their latest album, Hotel TV.
“I think it sounds like such a cliché, but my favourite part is always the shows,” said Gracie, “We haven’t been in front of a crowd playing shows and now we’re able to see people react to our new album, Hotel TV, in person. I love getting on stage and seeing people react to the songs.”
“It was a unique experience to kind of have to make this whole album from the total studio mindset and then get together and build out the live arrangements,” added Clyde, “I don’t think it’s our preferred way of doing it, to be honest. But I think that everyone in the band is just really, really talented, so everyone was good at coming in and still finding a way to make these live arrangements fresh and different from the audio.”
Hotel TV is a sonically rich album that translates into a live show that feels larger-than-life. Full of expansive instrumental arrangements and narrative-driven lyrics, the album is celebratory with a tinge of heartbreak. Gracie’s explosive vocals (not to mention killer range) and Clyde’s soulful crooning delivered the stories told in Hotel TV in a way that had me dancing and pulled at my heartstrings all at once.
“All forms of writing and performing are connected via the idea of storytelling like everything is just storytelling,” said Gracie, “I think that kind of honing and having a good ability to tell stories, is a real through-line through every single artistic pursuit that we take on.”
“Even within a song, the different components of a song themselves each tell a story,” added Clyde, “When we think about storytelling and songwriting, the obvious thing is, oh, the lyrics tell a story. But I think if done right, the chords throughout a song tell a very clear harmonic story, the arrangement of the song tells a very clear, dynamic story, the vocal choices, the performance, should all be telling the same story. They should all be working together to take you on a journey.”
LAWRENCE certainly took the crowd on a journey with their live show. From danceable tracks like It’s Not All About You to humble, relatable tunes like The Weather, LAWRENCE explored the full range of emotion displayed in Hotel TV in a memorable manner that could only be experienced live.