LIVE: ALLAH LAS - REGENT THEATRE
Allah Las w. TOPS
The Regent Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
October 8, 2016
Words by Christina Ferraro / Photos by Jomira Coyotzi
There are few bands out there today that have a sound as timeless as The Allah-las. A foursome reigning from Southern California, their sun soaked new album Calico Review is a slow burning album tailored to accompany long drives out to the desert and beyond. It is the perfect companion for long and winding road trips as well as the ideal soundtrack for daydreaming about summer beach days. Having seen them a handful of times, it’s become a religious experience every time I’ve had the opportunity to catch them while they’re at home. (Seriously, if you ever get the chance to see them when they have a liquid light projectionist, it’s an unforgettable experience)
The Regent Theatre is a beautiful backdrop for Allah-las: an original 1914 theatre where the geometric proscenium archway was lit in a variety of warm tones to match the minimalist analog projections that accompanied the performance. The venue was most of the way full when my pal Jomira and I got there, so we decided to get something to eat. If you get the chance, check out Prufrock Pizzeria – the venue’s restaurant – but make sure if you order their prosciutto and arugula pizza to order it with cheese, we made the mistake to order it without cheese and it was essentially a flat bread, but it was the best flat bread ever. (Also, ladies: make sure to check out their restroom because it has the coolest wallpaper ever!) We got a beer and a cocktail and they weren’t the largest drinks ever, but again not the smallest. A pro tip – if the bar downstairs is crowded, you can go upstairs to the balcony and also order drinks and, most of the time, there’s nobody up there. Everything here is somewhat pricey, but what else were you expecting from Downtown Los Angeles?
TOPS had begun playing while we had our dinner, but we caught a couple of their songs. Their sound is a shoegaze-y synth psych pop that had the crowd in a swaying trance. The whole night was incredibly meditative, and they definitely set the tone for a very surprisingly mellow audience, which was incredibly pleasant, given that I’ve been to Allah-las shows where I’ve come home with bruises the size of fists. Their set had concertgoers casually puffing joints in a haze of weed smoke and if felt as if we were transported back to the late 60s.
As soon as Allah las came on, they were greeted with excited cheers and howls from friends. They immediately began with instrumental jam “Ferus Gallery”, my personal favorite tune, and they sounded incredible. From there, they went right into “Had it All”, and things began to pick up as the crowd sang along. Lead singer Miles Michaud dawned a friendly yellow sweater and greeted the crowd, “It feels good to be back,” he said with a smile, “it’s been a long time.” From then on out, they played a mix of old and new: “Follow You Down” from their previous album Worship the Sun and “Busman’s Holiday” from their first self-titled album released in 2012. Throughout their entire set, they flicked between different cut pieces of cellophane and black paper projections that were cut in patterns similar to Pendleton blankets, they were aesthetically pleasing. There were a couple of instances where the band switched up the lineup, where drummer Matthew Correia took center stage and sung the new tune “200 South La Brea” and guitarist Pedrum Siadatian sang classic “501-415” as well as “Warmed Kippers” and a little later in the set bassist Spencer Durham sang acoustic single “Famous Phone Figure”. Calico Review is an interesting album for the group because it gives them a lot of leeway to experiment with a variety different sounds as well as playing a bit of ‘musical chairs’ within the band and allowing for the group to experiment with playing different instruments as well as taking turns singing.
Allah-las did a fantastic job mixing a lot of the older songs as well as incorporating newer songs into the set. Songs like “Autumn Dawn” and “Tell Me (What’s on Your Mind)” had the crowd bobbing their heads and fluctuating in a respectful manner that was far from the aggressive Orange County shows that I had attended in the past. The crowd was relaxed for a Saturday night and genuinely captivated by the music, which made the whole experience genuinely more enjoyable. Things ramped up a little for unreleased single “Calm Me Down” where Michaud ironically yells “You gotta calm me down – you gotta calm me, calm me, calm me down!”
Once they came back out for the encore, Michaud stepped behind the drum kit and played a slowed down version of “Long Journey” while Correia came out with two sets of maracas. They belted “Every Girl” and the crowd sang and danced along and then the set ended with instrumental “No Werewolf” where Siadatian, Durham, and Michaud went at it on stage, posing for photos, and suddenly the show was over.
The show went by so fast, I wish I could relive it, but we’ll just have to wait until next time. For now they’re on the road, but keep your eyes peeled next time they’re in town and don’t miss out on them!
Had it All
Follow You Down
200 South La Brea
Could Be You
Famous Phone Figure
Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)
Calm Me Down