Luminescent Orchestrii

Mon. Feb. 16

The Pour House

Some waltzed. Some tangoed. One young woman swayed and swirled her long peasant skirt around, dreamily keeping time with the music. More than a few in the crowd at the Pour House simply looked rooted in place. Gaze fixed on the stage. Goofy smiles on their faces.

Perhaps Luminescent Orchestrii is used to this kind of response — an audience becoming infatuated with them. If they are, their energetic performance gave no hint that they take it for granted. The thin crowd at the start of their early set filled in rapidly as the quartet mingled favorites from Too Hot to Sleep with cuts off their latest, Neptune’s Daughter. The lively “Macedonia Five” and violinist Rima Fand’s evocative tango “Red Glove” drew out the dancers in the crowd. Sxip Shirey’s “Nasty Tasty” closed the set with a deliciously funky groove.

By the second set, it was tough to find a dance floor at all. The band offered more from the new album, including “Pecto-Rubulii,” “Militsa,” and “Kombucha Monster.” They closed the set with the title track “Neptune’s Daughter.” The Orchestrii may have been ready to leave but the crowd wasn’t ready to let them go. Looking surprised by the shouts for an encore, the band swung into a rowdy, crowd-pleasing klezmer boogie hoe-down. And was the audience completely smitten with the Lumiis? Judging by all the messages I received the next day — oh, yeah. Deep smit. —Jon Santiago

Col. Bruce Hampton & The Quark Alliance, Moonalice

Thurs. Feb. 19

The Pour House

“They’re getting pretty out there,” says Travis from his post at the door, as Moonalice’s Jack Casady and Pete Sears took flight on a free-form musical exploration before dropping comfortably into a G.E. Smith-led “Sugaree.” Moments before, I found myself sitting beside Col. Bruce Hampton as Bunky Odom and Steve Parish recounted their involvement putting on Watkins Glen, the 1973 festival that long held the record for largest outdoor concert. Bruce chimed in, inbetween shouting at the horse races on the satellite TV in his bus. Before Moonalice took the stage, Parish announced, “Tonight we are conducting a musical experiment.” A cast of such accomplished musicians could easily play lazy, throwback shows. Instead, the original exploratory pros were still taking new sonic trips. It was awesome and inspiring. On stage, Col. Bruce has returned to his youthful form, leaping from his stool to shred away on one blazing blues-rock lick after another. Talk about respecting our veterans. —Stratton Lawrence

Autumn Gold

Sun. Feb. 22

52.5 Records

Celebrating its 12th birthday this weekend, 52.5 Records held an intimate in-store show on Sunday. Booked as “Birdsmell,” the featured act turned out to be singer-guitarist Ben Bridwell of the Band of Horses, who put on a loose, reverb-drenched, joy-filled solo show .

Bridwell was the main event, but a major musical surprise of the evening came with newly-formed local act Autumn Gold’s delicate and expressive opening set. It seemed appropriate that they performed in front of Belle & Sebastian and vintage R.E.M. posters; the lilting and vibrating harmonies between lead singer Nic Bongalis and vocalist Katelyn Carter resembled the fey and angelic interchanges of Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell and the melodic twists between Michael Stipe and Mike Mills. While the group looked a bit nervous and giddy, fussing with their tuning and searching for lost picks, Bongalis kept things on track with his quick-witted comments. —T. Ballard Lesemann

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