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Surfer rock brings west coast vibes to Colorado

Photo // Korina Rojo

ALLAH-LAS HEADLINE THE GOTHIC

Anonchalant vibe emanated from the audience on April 7 during the Allah-Las performance at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood.

The unconcerned feeling seemed fitting for the music being played and the peculiar projections displayed behind the band. The images looked like something out of pages drawn by a child. As the show began, the movement of multiple audience ilks gravitated toward the stage. The crowd was diverse: a mingling of teens eager to see the band in the flesh, some mid-20 somethings smoking weed among the warm bodies, and a smattering of older men and women—either fans or dragged by their underage children—established themselves on the balcony.

As the house lights began to dim, the audience cheered as the band meandered their way onto the stage following Canadian musician Babe Rainbow’s ambiently psychedelic set. Easing into their set with fan favorites, their performance is just as formulated and charming as the sound on their album, which is always a relief.

As the band drifted into one of their top-charting songs “Catamaran,” the quick strums of the guitar and the steadiness of the drums and bass—keeping the beat—instantly nudged the audience into slow motion like swaying or appreciative head bobbing. The group has an exceptionally contagious sound. The arrangements and harmony between  the vocals and the instrumentals is extremely gratifying and hard to achieve even for groups that have established themselves for years on the road. Their performance makes the Allah-Las a stand-out group in the saturated indie surf scene.

“All experiences filter into your tastes and your tastes are your guiding force,” guitarist Miles Michaud said of their groups LA influence. “At least they should be, in my opinion.”

There are many bands that have a similar, indie-surf-rock sound to the Allah-Las; a darker flavor with The Growlers and a distinct edginess from The Black Lips. While they aren’t moving away from the genre in any way, what they are doing is remarkable.

One notable difference between other musicians of the same ilk is that the Allah-Las are noticeably laid back in their performance and their music, they don’t have the same type of gloom or grit that previous groups had. They fill the void with a calming, melodious, soothing surfer tone.  Sometimes fans can’t engage in agitated excitement in a musician’s work, so the Allah-Las provide the perfect alternative.

“We started as music fans more than musicians and have always been eager to find and hear new sounds,” Michaud said. “the best way to hear what we are listening to and inspiring us is to check out our podcast ‘Reverberation Radio’.”

Their authenticity lies in the contradiction of their influence; they are clearly a band that lingers in the past with groups like The Byrds and The Animals through the use of vintage gear, tube amps, and guitars. They create a thorough nostalgia in their music that is quite different from a band that is eager to “find and hear new sounds.”

The group hasn’t released an album since their Calico Summer album in 2016, but with another year behind them, Allah Las has decided to fill the next with touring and new recordings.

“In the next few months we are going to release some cover tracks we recorded recently,” Michaud said. “After this round of touring, we will probably start working on writing and demoing some new original stuff, which is always a good time.”

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