Hailing all the way from Los Angeles, the holy sounds that are Allah-Las have finally graced Australian sand for their first and long-awaited Australian tour. The multitalented Californian quartet are a cluster of gauze-pop visionaries who play echoes of vintage mid-sixties guitar tones and are known for their signature psychedelic instrumental currents. Their distinctive surf rock ’n’ roll vibe naturally lures east coast dreamers for the revelation of the bands third EP, Calico Review which can only be described as a variety of sounds coming together as one colourful instrumental work of art. I was lucky enough to head along to see Allah-Las play a sold out gig at Sydney’s Andy Warhol influenced venue; Oxford Art Factory which couldn’t have been a more prime setting to see these guys play for the first time.
Gold Coast’s Donny Love set the feel good vibe with retro pop, but it wasn’t until Allah-Las graced the dark and dimmed stage when you could feel the level of excitement rise. Lead singer and guitarist, Michaud thanks the crowd for coming along and announces how stoked they are to finally be playing in Oz. That’s when the four piece started their deep bass channels, rich alteration grooves and brooding harmonies which really set the mood for what our bodies and minds were about to experience right through ‘til the end of the night.
The crowd were undoubtedly loving the slow yet resolute sounds naturally swaying back and forth, and side to side - not being able to help but let the surf-soaked sounds transfix every single person in the venue. For such a chilled out and relaxed style of music it was surprising to see how energetic and dynamic their performance was. Their set expectedly held up to their reputation of nostalgic overtones and psychedelic indentations, but I was somewhat positively taken back to hear the ample imprint of avid gritty rock.
They played crowd favourite’s ‘Busman’s Holiday’, ‘Sacred Sands’ and ‘Long Journey’ which had the crowd singing and swaying which instantly sent everyone to a transcendent state; which felt like to be the sunny shores of California itself. They played songs from their new album where ‘Could Be You’ was definitely a crowd pleaser as well as ‘200 South La Brea’. The multi-skilled group shared their talents as they switched instruments and all four swapped the mic back and forth throughout, where toward the end percussionist Matthew Correia, came out of the darkness to the front to shake the maracas and sing to the ardent crowd.
Allah-Las most recent album definitely gives us an insight to the bands anecdote that is full of divergent sounds and tangles which gently illustrates what inspires them to create what they’re feeling at the time, which is undeniably expressed through their music. The four storytellers radiate mixed sounds of their subconscious, which was effortlessly captured and transferred through the art of their music on the night.
You can especially tell that there is more depth and variety given the different harmonies and darker connotations as you feel the vibrations amongst the audience, as even the four were subtly losing themselves through their music. Even with the gritty-like garage infused rock you still felt the sun- kissed breeze swirling through the full house; although it comes as no surprise with the faultless music taste and knowledge these guys exude. They are definitely an eclectic live group that could make anyone with a rhapsodic soul groove and move even days after seeing them play.
I and many others are already reminiscing on the pure magnetic waves of happiness and relaxed reverberations that flowed through us on the night. It’s safe to say that making the overnight three hour road trip to Sydney to see these creative minds all the way from Cali work the stage (and the crowd as some danced, sang and shook the maracas with them on stage) was all worthwhile.
Reviewer - Kristen Smith