Watching a C.S. Luxem performance is like falling down a rabbit hole. It’s intriguing, mesmerizing, and will draw in even the most curious of spectators. But it can also be disorienting and leave you thrillingly dazed.
Luxem kicked off a very intimate show at the Precolator this week. He, along with local garage rockers Oils and Chicago-based duo Bears of Blue River, were part of a DIY event at the Percolator called “Pass-the-Hat.” The goal is to create a relaxed atmosphere and give the musicians an opportunity to connect with their audiences. Those who came out to the show enjoyed throwing back a few PBRs, hanging out on the porch, and enjoying flickering projections and low-key performances.
Luxem stood behind a table containing a mess of equipment and Christmas lights. He’d swap out tapes to create his intoxicating looped effects. What came out was like a clash of the titans. Luxem found a way to intertwine his gorgeous, Bon-Iver-esque voice (sans the Cabin in the Woods) with puzzling noises and loops. If you’re patient enough to make it through the maze of sounds, the payoff is great.
He played some originals but peppered in some interesting covers (including Drake’s “Take Care”). It’s little gems like those that make a C.S. Luxem show worth the effort of weeding through the DIY venues and events. The modest donation most of these shows ask for is a small price to pay to watch some of Lawrence’s greatest hidden, dazzling, and unpretentious musical geniuses.
This tiny snippet from the performance hardly does him justice. You’ll just have to make it out to one of his shows: