Earplugs and tall beers were the most common carried items last night at The Parish, House of Blues. The infamous grunge rock duo, Local H made their first appearance in the Crescent City since their pre-Katrina show here at the Hi-Ho Lounge.
Out of Zion, Illinois, Local H made their mark in the 90’s with their gold-certified second record, As Good As Dead (1996), which contained the single “Bound for the Floor.” They came out of an era that exploded with garage bands and alternative rock groups such as Sound Garden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Toadies, and Helmet to name a fraction. And they were definitely one of the more overlooked acts of the time. However, since 1995, they have released eight total studio albums in addition to some EPs and live material, so they haven’t disappeared, despite their drop-off in billboard success. One of the more interesting things about the group’s history is that the vocalist and guitar player, Scott Lucas, is the only remaining member of the original lineup.
Local H actually began as a four-piece with a lead guitarist and bassist in 1987, but became a duo before their first album. If a band only consists of two members, it is disheartening when one of them (50% of the band), decides to move on. But, instead of abandoning the name Local H and beginning a solo career, Lucas has had two drummers fill in the place of Joe Daniels since his departure in 1999. The current drummer, Ryan Harding, has been with him since 2013.
They started the show at about 9pm. Lucas stomped a couple of his pedals, which caused a whining feedback from his guitar to warn the crowd of the sheer volume they were about to experience. Harding and Lucas set up side-by-side on stage, which put Harding’s massive drum set right in the face of the crowd. Lucas’ guitar has been modified with an extra input and a bass pickup so that he can play through a combination of five different bass and guitar amps. This gives his guitar a very full tone and covers the low-end that might be missing from the lack of a live bassist. Their sound is like a wilder, more robust Nirvana, with Lucas’ vocals being a similar, strained yell to that of Kurt Kobain.
Local H are known for their crowd-pleasing sets, often inviting audience members to pick the setlist themselves before the show. They played a well-rounded mix of new releases from their 2015 album, Hey, Killer, such as “City of Knives” as well as old favorites like “Cha! Said the Kitty” from Pack Up the Cats and “Eddie Vedder” from As Good As Dead. Lucas made sure to toast the crowd and the city several times, drink in hand, conversing with fans and taking requests. The duo had a great presence, keeping up an exhaustingly powerful and loud set for the whole night. They transitioned seamlessly from one song to the next in the blink of an ear. “Fritz’s Corner” from As Good As Dead was the final song of the set, but of course they were called back for more. So, they finished the evening with a fat encore, Lucas having one last toast and saying, “Here’s to the last miserable months on the road.” To everyone’s pleasure, they jammed “Bound for the Floor” into “That’s What They All Say” into the always fun “High-Fiving MF.” Taking their time dragging out the final chords and drum blasts of the last songs, the encore felt as though it were as long as the initial set. When the feedback and distortion subsided, Lucas jumped into the crowd, who carried him all the way to the merch table, where he greeted fans and signed autographs.