The owners of the recent movie-house-turned-concert-space Teragram Ballroom in downtown turned another small space into a venue called the Moroccan Lounge, and with its neatly placed staging area next to its low-lit and vibey dining/bar area, it felt like the right spot to showcase the electronic Canadian duo Blue Hawaii. After a four-year gap between albums, they released Tenderness earlier this month, and they are out touring in support of it.

All photos by David Fisch

I have a bit of a soft-spot for these guys since I was wowed by them back in 2013 at SXSW (enough to see them twice during my stay). Their blend of house electronic and dream pop leapt out unsuspectingly when witnessing them behind just a mic and a table of soundboards. They were just as I remembered them on Friday night at the Moroccan Lounge, and just as wonderfully rich in providing unique live mixes to their studio recordings and having fun doing so.

The audience was all over the new material, which lingered through the Lounge’s excellent acoustics and permeated the smoke-machine haze and light scheme for the hour-long set. All smiles were on Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alex Cowan, who would occasionally break between songs to chat about their past LA experiences or just acknowledging what some songs meant. When they ended their set with the potential break-out single “No One Like You,” they returned after a much rallied-up crowd shouted for an encore, and they played they super-dreamy “Lilac” from their first album.

The duo recognized that they were successful when they realized all they wanted to do was make music and have fun doing it, and that was certainly the feeling in the room. They provided a cool and dancey night in LA at a new hit-spot for musicians to let loose in a well-sounding and intimate setting.

Tenderness is available now on Arbutus Records. See the music video for “No One Like You” below.

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Blue Hawaii