Local Band Spotlight: Lukali

People of Tampa, prepare yourselves: October is near, and Lukali are poised to command and conquer. A cool, cavalier trio made up of high school friends, the band reminds the listener (and potential fan) of Doctor Demento’s radio show: Vinnie, Scott, and Brian are clearly enamored with their tunes.

As Scott explains, they are “a little heavier than your average indie rock,” with instrumental duties — those upon the basic bass, guitar, and drum kit — being shared by the band’s members during concerts.

Given that spirit of cooperation, the lads in the band seem to have pulled a Radiohead: Nine out of ten hipsters would agree, “What does Lukali mean?” According to the biographical portion of their Web site, “They thought [a boy seen fending off cats] had a cool sounding name. The only trouble was, they heard it wrong, unintentionally making up their own slight variation. It sounded like a good name for their new band, and Lukali was born.”

Unintentional in name or not, these three bear the constraints of Tampa’s somewhat diminutive music scene. As Scott mentions, “Tampa is nice for a time, but it can be limiting.”

However, he went on to say, “Everyone is pretty friendly and helpful once you’ve played a handful of local shows.” These are no Dandy Warhols: Though they may sneer lyrically, they do no such thing when moving within their local stomping grounds.

Lukali the phenomenon touched down in our backyard during a battle of the bands at Tampa Stadium in November of 1996. Over the course of the next several years, their catalog grew by fits and starts, with demo tapes giving way to split albums and those in turn giving way to full-length independent releases.

With their album Slow Life being in our midst, resistance is futile. Fourteen tracks, with each listener due their just dessert: Approximately one hour of new stuff. Of course, every recorded effort means yet another set of jaunts into the live music scene. Lukali’s first stop will be at the New World Brewery on Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. accompanied by Zykos and The Only Children.

Scott prefers as a venue the Brewery, but admits that the “Orpheum is our favorite place to play, and we know everyone there really well. They have it together in terms of getting good sound and getting bands onstage.”

What of Lukali’s aspirations to bigger settings, a wider fan base, or scads more attention?

“We’ve played Miami, Saint Augustine, and we’re trying to branch out and play more regional shows,” Scott says, leading one to the conclusion that fame, though not in the cards at this moment, is certainly in the game plan and within the band’s reach.

Even the subtle matter of instrumentation is fodder for a slow build within the band: They have contemplated adding an organist, but they haven’t found an individual suited to their goals. Regardless of Lukali filling out its ranks, its importance to the Tampa scene is paramount.

Lukali will play at the New World Brewery in Ybor on Oct. 5th. Tickets are $5 at the door.