The Allah-Las Transcend at The Parish

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Los Angeles band the Allah-Las came to Austin Saturday night with a heavy dose of California surf-inspired garage rock tunes. Opening was fellow L.A. group Tashaki Miyaki whose mid to down-tempo glimmering pop gaze was a fitting primer for the rock and roll to come from the Allah-Las. Twelve-string guitars and fuzzed-out solos marked the high-minded, vintage gear-inspired four piece. Old guitars and older amps scattered the stage with boutique fuzz pedals and thin leather guitar straps holding the mess all together.  That’s the trick when it comes to the Allah-Las’ performance; building on classic influences like Them, 13th Floor Elevators, and the Standells, one must maintain a general nonchalant coolness that counters the obvious cherrypicking of a distant sound. The surfier the better, utilizing reverb to throw a wall of sound into the heavily occupied Parish crowd. The buzzed-about band even drew local Britt Daniel to the club, taking a break from promoting Spoon’s awesome new record They Want My Soul released this August.

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

But let’s focus on the music. After a delayed start to the headliner’s set, the four guys walked up the front of the well-lit Parish stage and donned their instruments. The first chiming chords filled the smoky chamber and the bright drums jumped into sight. A second guitar played a counter melody to the chords of the first and the creaky old Fender Mustang bass in dark green plodded along, the paint chipping away to expose the wood grain underneath, round notes bouncing. I tend to rave about the sound system at the Parish and this night was no different, making the show that much more engaging, removing any distractions from the mix. But also contributing to the sound and ultimately the experience were those old instruments and the vibe they were throwing at us. Decades of sweat from decades of hands have gripped, fretted, and plucked the strings holding the instruments together. An old guitar has a smell to it that is unique to that instrument. Usually some combination of must, salt, and rusty corrosion with a light sprinkling of incense, a guitar exudes its own style, and the player needs to realize how one can tease the most mojo from that particular character. Instruments are tools but when you can use one to transcend time and visit unknown energies, the instrument receives a bit more trust that these spirits are present and working with you.

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Allah-Las; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Particularly useful is this strategy when you are a revivalist act like the Allah-Las. Earlier in the day while in the car before the show, a song of their’s came on local station KUTX and my friend from out of town who was visiting and attending the show was convinced the song was from no later than 1970. This has a lot to do with the recording process of course, but after seeing the live act, I came to the conclusion that talking the talk only works if you can back it up and walk that walk. Unafraid to dive into instrumental territory, they proved their chops and deep knowledge of 60s psychedelic garage rock. We featured their instrumental “No Werewolf” earlier this year, an instrumental that was first cut in 1960 by Seattle band the Frantics. This should come as no surprise, as the members of the Allah-Las met while working at Amoeba Records in LA, and are all fans of obscure garage music. The Allah-Las proceeded to maintain the chilled out mellow surf vibes despite the cold evening and offered a cozy respite to the eager fans in attendance.

Select any photo below to open in slideshow viewer. All photos © Madeline Harvey & Pop Press International.

Pop Press International © 2018 All Rights Reserved

All photos licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress