The Scarlet Opera wraps first headlining tour in LA

Ooh, I kinda like it—gets me excited

The Scarlet Opera are superstars in the making. This much has been certain to their fans that have spent the last few years waiting as the band dropped addictively listenable singles, with too-long breaks in-between.

But now, The Scarlet Opera has finally released their first full-length EP, Comedy. The record offers five delicious morsels of theatrical pop that has become the cornerstone of their sound. Each song was played—no, experienced—live at EchoPlex Wednesday night (Apr 12th) as The Scarlet Opera wrapped their first headline tour in their native Los Angeles.

Already a popular band in the region, the City of Angels sold out the show in record time for the group, who have already headlined a residency at the famed Troubadour. A Scarlet Opera live show is one to be felt, lived, and seen to be believed. Unashamedly queer, the comparisons between lead singer Luka Bazulka and Freddie Mercury of Queen are easy. Too easy.

Luka is different, with a dramatic nature that envelopes the crowd is a sense of urgency. Yet, the crowd becomes a willing participant in the drama, following his lead, responding to his call, and staring intently into his soul as he bears it on stage.

Luka is backed by four incredibly capable musicians that formed the band when Luka and keyboardist/band leader Colin Kenrick were students at CalArts. Chance Taylor shreds on guitar, Daniel Zuker adds a stoic coolness on bass, and Justin Siegal rocks the drums behind shades and a determined face. Luka affectionately calls them “the boys.”

That affection was apparent on the unreleased “I’ve Been Waiting,” which Luka called “a love note” to his bandmates. Also unreleased, “That Kind of Woman” showcases the band’s ability to turn from drama to pure rock. It takes guts to do a set with mostly original material with only an EP on offer, but TSO pull it off.

But the stand out point of the night came not during one of The Scarlet Opera’s many originals, but when Luka and guitarist Chance Taylor performed a stripped-down version of Cher’s “Believe.” The aching purity and raw power of Luka’s voice was left bare onstage, unencumbered by theatrics. If they listen to anything a mere journalist-fan has to say: boys, please do not lose that moment. Record that cover. You might be capturing playlists and streams legions who identify with your writing, but that soulful moment is how you capture hearts.

Captivate is something The Scarlet Opera has known how to do, all the way back to the days when they performed under a different name. Absent this—to keep the focus on the new album—was fan favorite “From Fire,” the single that introduced the world to a new brand of pop. At their first ever NYC headline show at Baby’s All Right, Luka heard the crowd sing it back to him and exclaimed “Ooh, Okay! Words!” It was a moment of gratitude I’ll never forget, and the moment I knew this group was destined for stardom.

The fan base has only grown since that time. We better get more from Scarlet Opera soon. Because, to paraphrase a line from Comedy’s first track, we really, really like it. Gets us excited. And the show at The EchoPlex was a joyous riot.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.