A Redlight District performance is an immersive experience, a liberating, hedonistic riot full of rock star theatrics. The band embodies the quintessential rock ’n’ roll sound and style of the late ’60s and early ’70s, and their performances feature a rotating cast of burlesque dancers to complement the gyrations of leather-clad frontman Stephan Sams and the contortions of long-haired guitarist Ravi Lamb. Drummer Keoki Thompson and keyboardist Dan Leitner temper the drama with steady grooves and melodic bass.
“We’re very theatrically influenced,” explains Sams. “Life is kind of a theater—a theater of joy and tragedy. Our goal is to reflect that on an actual stage, through different movements.” After a pause, he adds, “Like many Americans, I have a short attention span, so it’s good for that, too.”
The Redlight aesthetic is no act; the often intense lifestyle of the band members inspires and shapes a unique blend of rocking, soulful, psychedelic blues. That committed passion is apparent on their recently released EP One Hour Motel. The “sixties-twinkly” psychedelic sound is accompanied by an array of lyrical themes, including an “ode to the wild, free-thinking progressive woman,” as well as motifs of abandonment, toxic relationships, co-dependency, and a “rejection of the institutions that oppress us.”
The band has a new van, a new manager, a documentary in the works, plans for a national tour, and will be headed back to the studio in April to record its first full-length album, Blackmail. According to Sams, the full-length will be “darker and more guitar-driven” — a tribute to their heavy blues influences.
INFO: 9 p.m., Friday, March 17, Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.