(photo by Jessica Seifert, provided by TJSG)
For someone that prides themselves on being open-minded, not easily swayed by the popular vote or the unpopular vote; I really screwed up with Lucas Goularte. I pride myself on knowing what’s great. It’s like my shtick. And last week, I sat in the upstairs of Tidball’s in Bowling Green, KY, my legs and arms hanging over the rafters, completely betwixt by Lucas as he held me, and a hearty crowd of fans in the palm of his hand.
The reason I hadn’t really given Lucas time was simple. Thee Japanese Schoolgirls have a ‘jam’ bent to their sound. And jam bands are something I struggle with. I like my musicians to go in and kill me. Beat me up. And jam bands, with their guitar riffs and long runs, are too gentle with me. I have trouble loving them because I’m a musical masochist and they just don’t give me enough pain. Thus, when TJSG played, I was a shithead. I left. Or didn’t go at all. And that was dumb. Very dumb.
Here’s five reasons I jotted down in my phone during Lucas’ live performance that made me further and further aware of how big of a boob I was for ignoring him:
(photo provided by TJSG)
1. Lucas gives you songs and a sermon.
In the first few minutes of the set, Lucas had not only swooned the audience into his melodies and familiar tunes that his local fans obviously knew by heart, but he’d also gone on these very charming, succinct tangents between songs about like..important, good stuff. Which is shocking. He mentioned the vinyl resurgence of today - encouraging folks to buy music, tangible goods. He encouraged everyone to meet a stranger. Talk to whoever was beside you. He repeatedly expressed his love for Bowling Green, the music community, the bar. It was like grassroots without being contrived. If he was selling snake oil, I would have bought it. (A really great merch concept that I think you should steal, TJSG.)
2. Lucas gives away presents through the entire set.
It ain’t like he was giving away Rolex watches and champagne, they were weird little toys. Books. All from a weird little bag that Lucas returned to over and over again. I got a serving bowl shaped like a toucan and a Chik-Fil-A watch in the shape of a cow, and a tiny Rainbow Brite figure. But I loved the living heck out of those presents.
And it’s a brilliant practice. In a world where musicians are truly having to ask for help (monetary and otherwise) directly from their fans to stay afloat — it is pure genius to give away even the tiniest things at every show. The fact that Lucas curates the bag of goodies to be like the Land of Misfit Toys of gifts is an additional help. Giving a new life and a special meaning (“I got this cow watch at TJSG show at Tidballs last summer!”) to objects that might have otherwise been dumped in the trash or left to rot at a Goodwill is really a commentary on how we should treat and respect all musicians. Little gesture. Big impact.
3. Lucas has a stage presence that is arena-big.
In theatre classes, you learn the importance of how you use the stage. Your space. To assess that space, no matter how small or large and use it properly with your body language to get whatever message across. I don’t know if Lucas took theatre or if he just read about it, or if just naturally “gets” it as some frontmen do, but he dominated the stage. Like Hulk Hogan. (I’ve been watching a lot of wrestling.) He knew when to talk, when to joke, and when to fight (sing/play) .
(photo provided by TJSG)
4. Lucas was the center of the crowd’s attention. The whole time.
At one point in the set, Lucas had the entire crowd jumping up and down in unison with him. You don’t see that alot at Tidball’s. That kind of control. I’m not suggesting that audiences don’t love the bands. But I haven’t seen control like that with any of the other local bands (with exception to ones that have skyrocketed and become signed, professionals) — in a long time.
5. Lucas referenced Surge.
Yeah, the psychotic drink that came out years ago and then was discontinued. I’m a Mello Yellow person. I can drink those all day and feel not a hint of caffeine buzz. Two sips of Surge made me feel like a crack addict. (Assumption.) Humanity just wasn’t ready.
Oh and also: Here’s a live video of the song, Bottom of the Bottle from YouTube. I should probably mention in my list above that Lucas is a great vocalist and there are a few songs (should be more!) that really showcase his control and range.
To check out Thee Japanese Schoolgirls and see the greatness that is Lucas and not continue being a boob like I’d been:
Hit them up on Facebook: HERE.
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