The LaRues
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The LaRues

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band R&B Soul

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"The LaRues rock"

Austin Community College students Chris Hadley and Jon Fichter played several shows all over town during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival with their funky soul band The LaRues. Their group can't stop moving, and neither can anyone within earshot of this local sensation that delivers a classic funk sound flooded with rich vocal harmonies.

Called "the best new local act" by KUT radio host Jay Trachtenberg, the group is comprised of four male musicians and three female vocalists who incite a dance riot at every performance. Shaking their hips throughout each number, they invite comparisons to such legendary artists as Aretha Franklin and Sharon Jones.

"Everyone is equally passionate about what we're doing," Sonya Benjamin said, one of the group's vocalists who is joined at center stage by Kara Knorpp and Sharon Grant.

Their music is true to form, solid and reverent. Their tunes implore the audience to race quickly down to the front and surrender to the spirit of the moment.

"[The feeling] is a universal thing," guitarist Fichter said before the band's March 13 performance at Maggie Mae's. "It makes people want to dance."

Drummer Gabe Yukon said, "It's like a party every single time."

The LaRues'songs hearken back to musical stylings such as The J.B.'s "Pass the Peas" and could easily be mistaken for something out of the Stax Records' catalog or a lost Daptone treasure. The stories are of losing love and finding power in independence.

During the March 13 show at Maggie Mae's, The LaRues tried something new: a two-part performance. The four-piece band warmed up the audience with a few instrumental numbers before welcoming the ladies to the stage for a traditional LaRues performance.

"That's how the band got started," Hadley said. "It was just the guys, performing under the name 'Bigfoot'."

The band spoke with unanimous anticipation about their upcoming five-song EP, to be released later this spring.

"We've really progressed since the last record," Knorpp said. "We've worked out all the kinks. We're all having a lot of fun together and it just sounds so good."

In addition to the exposure, Fichter said, "The best thing about [SXSW] is getting to see so many bands we never have a chance to see, and sometimes even getting to play with them!" - The Accent


"Best New Local Act"

Jay Trachtenberg's choice for Best New Local Act in the 2011 Best of Austin critics' poll. - Austin Chronicle


"See: The LaRues & Roxy Roca With The Marksman at the Mohawk"

I just have one question for all of the folks out there looking for something to do tonight. Have you seen the The LaRues perform, yet? Well if you haven’t, you are in for a real treat, and I will tell you where to go to find them.

Imagine what Boogie Woogie and Motown would sound like if they made a baby and there you have The LaRues. I’ve had the privilege of seeing this fabulous band perform on a few occasions and let me tell you, they never and I mean NEVER disappoint. Just close your eyes for a second and feel yourself traveling back in time. You almost feel like you might wake up and are in “Studio A” watching one of soul music’s greats perform their top hits. You think I’m exaggerating? See them for yourself and tell me I’m wrong. Their sound is uniquely polished and it’s no wonder since they were recently named one of the Top 10 Best New Local Acts by The Austin Chronicle.

Tonight The LaRue’s will be selling their debut album that has been a year in the making, and I’m sure it will be a performance you will not want to miss.

“We have been officially playing together on stage for a year now. To be able to mark that with an album of all original tunes is an amazing place to be. It truly is an honor to work with a group of people that are just naturally gifted,” says singer and co-founder Sonya Benjamin.

Naturally gifted they are indeed. Bassist Chris Hadley designed the album cover, inside and out. And photos were done by Blake Herman Photography.

The album is available for $5, along with The LaRues custom tees (also designed by Chris) for $10. You can bet I’m grabbing BOTH. - See Saw


Discography

Full-length self-titled album released 2012.

"The LaRues" is available on iTunes and can be streamed via Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/thelarues/sets

Photos

Bio

The LaRues are not a throwback band. Instead, they pay homage to the influences of the queens, kings and Godfather of Soul, while making music that is fresh, original and undeniably hip-shakin'.

In 2010, Austin, TX vocalists Sonya Benjamin and Kara Knorpp had sweet songs in their pockets and big ideas in their heads - they just needed a band to bring it together. At the same time, guitarist Jon Fichter, keyboardist Max Werkenthin, drummer Gabe Yukon and bassist Chris Hadley were gigging around town as Bigfoot, an instrumental soul band reminiscent of Booker T. & the MGs and the Meters. Their original compositions and quality instrumentation were turning heads, but they kept hearing, "You guys are great...but you should add vocals."

Some might call it fate, others might call it Craigslist, but when Sonya and Kara met the guys from Bigfoot, the chemistry was immediate and palpable. The girls would sing a melody, the guys would jump in with the music, and before long they were knockin' out originals left and right. Knowing that they were on to something big together, they joined forces to become The LaRues. In 2011, Sharon Grant joined The LaRues to provide the third female vocal harmony, giving them a sound that sets them apart from most bands.

The LaRues have played all over Austin, including such high-profile clubs as the Parish, Antone's and the Mohawk, as well as Luna Fine Music Club in San Antonio. The LaRues were one of the Austin Chronicle's Critics' Picks for "Best New Local Act" of 2011 and recently released their first full-length album.