Photos by Celia Abbott
By Kathia Dawson, Urban Coordinator
Artist: Thee Sacred Souls
Venue: Royale Boston
When: Wednesday, December 6th
Thee Sacred Souls performed wonderfully at the Royale the night of Wednesday, December 6th. Unlike many other artists, they promptly started the show as promised at 9:00 pm. Lead singer Josh Lane welcomed the crowd and thanked their opener LA LOM for priming the audience for them.
LA LOM STARTS THE NIGHT OFF RIGHT
LA LOM started off the night perfectly. Their groovy, upbeat music that draws inspiration from older classics aligns with Thee Sacred Souls' ’60s inspired sound. They’re a relatively new band from LA. Coming together in 2021, they gained attention quickly after releasing their self-titled debut EP the following year.
Summed up by guitarist Zac Sokolow, percussionist Nicholas Baker and bassist Jake Faulkner, this Californian band with South American influences swayed the audience. They played their most popular songs, “El Sueno” being one of them. The song slowly starts off with piano and guitar. It carried on gently but melodically, the song personifying a lazy river with its laidback back guitar riffs and rhythmic piano.
They played covers like “Juana La Cubana,” a Cuban song originally performed by Mexican cumbia artist Fito Olvivares. Then they performed “Alarado,” which makes you feel like you should be somewhere in Columbia sitting under a palm tree and drinking a mojito. They also played their latest release, “Llorar,” another cover and hit song, this one by Los Socios del Ritmo.
LA LOM pays homage to the cumbia tunes that played a big role in their upbringing. The band gave a lively performance, even with their most quiet melodies, showcasing a blend of genres and music including romantic boleros to 60s soul ballads. From Peru to the Amazon and Cuba, they seamlessly put on a modern feel for retro sounds.
THEE SACRED SOULS PROVE: SOUL MUSIC IS NOT DEAD!
Before discovering Thee Sacred Souls, I had imagined popular soul and jazz music was dead. Dead in the sense that no modern artist was creating anything as authentic or romantic as those in the ’50s and ’60s. My mind left those ageless serenades to the classic names of Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. But I’m happy to report that after seeing this Californian band's rise to fame, and the passionate audience response, that it’s safe to say that soul is not dead.
Inspired by Chicano Soul Music, R&B and soul music from the ’60s, they deliver a retro sound with modern elements, making them difficult to categorize. What makes their music so relatable is its qualities of rawness and sincerity. It’s these same factors that make all soul songs transcend time and place.
The San Diego-based band leaves us all longing for romance in our lives. Their retro tunes enchant the audience, swaying them the same way a snake charmer enchants a cobra. Their adoring lyrics practically force you to fall in love with love itself.
The stage felt crowded once the band walked on. Thee Sacred Souls, like their opener, are also a trio with backup singers. They consist of drummer Alex Garcia, bassist Sal Samano, lead singer Josh Lane and backup vocalists Tatiana and Aston.
UNVEILING MEANINGS AND IMPRESSING AUDIENCES
After taking the stage, Lane asked the crowd, “How many of you have asked for a second chance before,” eliciting a couple of timid “yeah”s from the crowd. He continued, “This song’s about that.” Then, as if a collective prayer from the crowd being answered, fan favorite “Will I see You Again” kickstarted their concert. Ninety percent of the crowd sang along, myself included,
Thee Sacred Souls released their debut self-titled album last year. They’ve garnered over 2 million Spotify monthly listeners thus far. Their most streamed song “Can I Call You Rose,” which sounds like it came straight out of the Indications’ discography, has an impressive 28 million streams already. A year after they’ve released their debut, it’s easy to recognize the sheer talent that the band holds, and their bright future. They have five nominations for the 2023 San Diego Music Awards and won the Grammy for Song of the Year in 2022 for “Will I See You Again.”
After buttering up the crowd with their Grammy award-winning song, the band went into playing other songs from their debut album like “Overflowing, “Love is The Way” and “Easier Said Than Done.” Lane’s weightless voice was anchored by the rhythm and the infectious chemistry between the band members. They performed alongside colorful pink, purple, red lights, which changed with each song, creating a serene atmosphere.
Lane prefaced “Sorrow For Tomorrow” by mentioning the inspiration behind the song, as he did with most other songs. Despite the mournful theme, this song is comforting, with lyrics such as, “Let the floodgates open and let the healing begin.” Lane shared with the crowd that he wrote this after his cousin died of gun violence. He mentioned that we all have bad days, and with so many bad things happening in the world he used the stage to sing in honor of those affected by the conflict in Palestine, and anyone struggling internally.
Uniformly, Lane prefaced “Future Lover” by being relatable to anyone in the crowd “who has experienced unrequited love.” Applause from the audience continued as the familiar situation hit home for many, almost all. He continued with “Happy and Well,” a duet with the backup singer Ashton, whose voice uplifted Lane’s. Both songs were tender and flawless, seamlessly blending into each other and scratching an itch in my brain that I didn’t know I had.
THE NIGHT WINDS DOWN, LEAVING THE CROWD WITH NOTHING BUT LOVE
Towards the end of the concert, the band played their latest single, “Running Away,” reinvigorating the crowd with upbeat layers of sounds. It starts with a dramatic drum pattern and melodic guitar riffs that set us up for dancing. “If you’re gonna dance to a song, let this be the one,” Lane said before starting. After beginning, Lane jumps into the crowd, disappearing into it, the only indication of his whereabouts being the phones that are held up recording him. As he runs around the Royale singing “running, running, running, running away,” the crowd parts like the red sea as he hits every corner of the venue, giving fans his all. This song’s energy became infectious, everyone dancing along, and looking for Lane within the crowd.
After this upbeat song, the band performed “For Now,” and some other songs from their debut album. Afterwards he promptly thanked the audience. Every part of the venue erupted in cheers and applause. Cheers died down, then, “Encore, encore, encore,” erupted, getting louder by the second. After around five minutes, the band jumped back out. Cheers swelled with intensity.
Lane started with “Weak for Your Love,” going into “It’s Our Love,” and finally, their most popular song, the one that originally made them a must-know band, “Can I Call You Rose?.”
Thee Sacred Souls performed spectacularly. They are a blend of multiple genres: Chicano, Soul, Motown sounds and so many more. Their songs make it easy to romanticize even the worst of days, lulling you into love, love, and even more love. The band ended the show by bowing to the audience, thanking the Boston crowd once again for their love.