La Luz frontwoman Shana Cleveland is out and about playing shows in support of her third album Manzanita, released by the label Hardly Art Records. Accompanied by a steel guitarist, keyboardist, and drummer, Cleveland and her band performed a fantastic set at NYC’s Mercury Lounge last Friday.
Cleveland sang whilst strumming her acoustic guitar, and wowed the adoring audience with her self-penned material. Emotional mid-tempo tunes effortlessly transitioned into fun, upbeat numbers. Shana’s smooth as silk vocals wafted across the room in songs such as “A Ghost,” “Gold Tower,” and “I’ll Never Know.” Cleveland’s music has a dreamy ambiance reminiscent of Alternative musician Kendra Smith, who was a founding member of post-punk/psychedelic bands like the Dream Syndicate and Opal. After informing the audience about her merchandise table, Cleveland quipped, “I feel like a used car salesman. But I believe in the product!” So did everyone who gathered for her set on that clear Spring night.
The show’s opener, Maita, was the perfect musical act to warm the crowd up. Maita featured songs from her latest release, Best Wishes, off the independent punk label Kill Rock Stars Records. She gave the audience some background on her setlist, which was filled with songs inspired by Maita’s various adventures and professions. This includes the song “Pour The Tea,” which describes her experiences working at an Asian restaurant in which she was required to wear a kimono. It’s amazing that this talented singer-songwriter took an unpleasant experience and spun it into a beautiful song.
I highly recommend seeing both of these kick ass artists live as their tour continues. For more info regarding their tour dates, visit shanacleveland.com and maitamusic.com.
Top photo: Photographed by Kristin Cofer