Barboza, Seattle’s newest music venue, is packed underneath Neumos. As you round the corner and head down the stairs, all the paint changes to gold and the attitude changes. Barboza is a comparable size and layout to Sunset Tavern in Ballard, with the stage at the far end of a rectangular space and the bar along the long wall. But the ambience gives it a unique vibe that makes for a fun addition to Seattle’s eclectic venue choices, and this past Tuesday Lemonade with touring opener Le1f showed everyone how to have a good time in new surroundings.
At first glance, Le1f may be the least likely opener for Lemonade possible. He raps over dark, jungle beats with all the delivery and attitude of a Mad Decent sampler tape. He’s back and forth across the stage, leaning over the monitors and backing up to adjust his tracks all the time. Wide-eyed and dead serious, Le1f hypes up the crowd without any pandering and kills every track he drops. Later in his set, he raps over some more familiar beats, including Drake’s “The Motto”. The guys from Lemonade are off in the corner jamming along – Le1f takes a break between verses on one of his tracks to fist pound with vocalist Callan Clendenin. For the last couple tracks, Le1f removes his cap to show off his bleached-out hair. Even if Le1f’s only real similarity to Lemonade comes in his sense of 90s flair, the crowd loves him and he exits the stage all smiles.
Lemonade take the stage and open with Diver track “Infinite Style”. Pulling entirely from the new record, Lemonade slowly build the energy and save their heavy dance tracks for the end. The live adaption of their album sounds great. Clendenin sticks to the vocals and occasionally adds noise with the sampler that’s close at hand. Ben Steidel mans synth setup with a keyboard and a drum pad, while Alex Pasternak works a hybrid drum set and the backing tracks. As “Neptune” comes around, Barboza is swaying and singing along. But the turn comes with “Ice Water” and “Big Changes”, as Lemonade delve further into the 90s dance vein found on their album. “Softkiss” makes for a huge ending to their set, which is met with huge applause. Cheered on for one more song, Lemonade break out “Big Weekend”, the opener from their 2008 self-titled record. The track is adapted to their current sound – the ambience is toned back slightly to make for a great tropical dance closer. By the end, no one in Barboza wants Lemonade to leave. They are just too damned fun.