There has been so much anxiety and frustration hovering over the country for the past few weeks. Long gone are the days where idealistically loose lifestyles centered around peace, love and music could be expressed without a care in the world. That lost world of countercultural values was revived on Friday evening inside New York City’s Webster Hall, where the Los Angeles band, the Allah-Las, stopped in to settle the mood just for one night.
The evening started out withthe Aussie outfit The Babe Rainbow, who brought an equally relaxing musical vibe to get the night going with warm and loose psych rock. The band’s droopy-sounding guitars during “Cosmic” somehow made it seem like their sound waves were actually melting the walls as they bounced off them and into the audience. There were bongos, tambourines and even some Latin flavor heard throughout their set. There was so much color and charisma pouring out the band from New South Wales, that they almost seemed like caricatures of Ken Kesey’s band of pranksters.
“We’re going to play an old song you f**king angels. It’s called ‘Love Forever,’” the band’s charming singer said before going into the entrancing song straight out of some long lost songbook leftover from the Summer of Love.
By the time the Allah-Las took the stage, the audience was so chilled out that there almost wasn’t much of a buzz in the venue’s main room, more like a vibrant hum of fans waiting for the next musical carpet ride. A large, moon-like light beamed behind the group as they took the stage and started into 2014’s “Follow You Down.”
Throughout their 22-song, hour and a half set, the group’s easygoing rock sound gave New Yorkers a relaxing soundtrack with newer tunes from their 2016 Calico Review LP, including “Satisfied,” “Strange Heat” and “Autumn Dawn.”
It’s easy to understand how the shoegaze or slacker rock genre evolved from the psychedelic rock sound of the 1960s. Unlike those bands however, Allah-Las keep a folk element about them, which provides more melodies in their music and lyrics than your typical Mac DeMarco knockoff. You could hear the band’s strong usage of melodies even in the eerily fun sounding “Warmed Kippers.”
So exactly how chilled out was the audience during their set? So chilled out in fact that no one even really seemed to care about the guy who ran up on stage and danced around for a bit until security snagged him backstage. Really, no one cared. It almost seems impossible to partake in such juvenile shenanigans these days without fear of some silly threat of deportation. Not on this night though.
Follow You Down
200 South La Brea
Famous Phone Figure
Had It All
Could Be You
No Werewolf (The Frantics cover)
Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)