Lucas Field's jam-packed session at Laadla Bar in South Lake Union last night was, at one point, like a scene from the '80s classic Cocktail--martini shakers were flying and everybody was high-fiving each other. Field (a Seattle native who was formerly the singer and guitarist for L.A. pop band Low vs. Diamond) and his four-piece pop-funk ensemble are the first group to play regular shows at Laadla Bar, the speakeasy annex of Laadla Indian restaurant. They've been drawing in considerable crowds with free shows since the singer and multi-instrumentalist started (in December) playing there every Thursday, last night being no exception.
The cramped space was so small the band took up a third of the floor, and the rest of it was packed with a dense crowd, some who grooved and sang along with the songs, others who fist-bumped and high-fived the band midset. It was so packed that getting through the gyrating swarm was impossible, but the crowd was friendly and good vibes were everywhere. Field performed with a mellow, soulful register, not unlike Ben Folds' or Daryl Hall's, that downplayed the craziness of the scene, but not the funky jams of his band--or his own twinkling Fender Rhodes organ. He was alert and charismatic, calling to the crowd to get on the dance floor, pulling a friend off the bar to sing a few parts, and talking up his new songs, available free from his website.
With his talent and personality for free, it's no wonder Field's residency has taken off as it has. From the looks of it last night, he could definitely stand to upgrade his home venue to a bigger club, but that doesn't seem to be the point for Field, who seems more intent for the time being on providing an eclectic, free scene for Seattle than anything else. Plus, it's got to be hard to say goodbye to a night surrounded by friends, fans, and free Indian food.
Overheard at the show:
"What? I missed the happy hour?"
"My music is free, just like this show is free . . . ": Lucas Field, to the crowd
" . . . because you're crazy!": a voice from the crowd