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Lawrence does it the old-fashioned way

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., December 11, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Lawrence is doing it the old-fashioned way - going on the road and expanding its fan base and going back and doing it all over again. With a sold-out show at the Paradise in May already under its belt, the New York City-based soulful band sold out two more shows (albeit it at a smaller club). Based on the opening night of the two, it's easy to see why Lawrence is attracting new supporters.

The group is led by Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, a brother/sister duo, who both take lead vocals. Gracie may be the more technically correct singer with a gorgeous voice (the jazzier "Misty Morning"), but Clyde is the slightly grittier, more soulful singer, while playing away on keyboards. Given that they are brother/sister, it was no surprise that they excelled on vocal interplay as well ("More"), sometimes as a duet and also on backing vocals.

While the focus may be on the Lawrences themselves, there was a lot to like about the band overall with a three-piece horn section often adding a lot of punch - sometimes on the jazzy side ("Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me?"). There are bluesy elements to Lawrence's sound as well.

To emphasize some of their influences, the band closed with Gracie ably singing lead on Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman."

There is a lot to like about Lawrence from musical choices to the singing. And a tightness merging the two. Staying on the road together can have that effect.

Lawrence was the top of an extremely well-conceived three-band bill. The Huntertones, a New York-based mainly instrumental band, focused on the jazz side. A medley of Queen songs including "Under Pressure" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a highlight. It was the kind of presentation that may have made you wonder how it could possibly work in advance, but it sure did.

These guys can play.

Kat Wright, a Vermont-based bluesy singer with jazz overtones as well, was the middle act. Wright showed her vocal chops time and again during her set, again with a worthy backing band.

The Huntertones and Wright both came out to help Lawrence during their set, which made perfect sense.

This was a night where a few hard-working, but under the radar bands teamed up with a group that knows a thing or two about building a career to make for an invigorating night of soulful sounds.