The theme of the evening at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night was ‘unhurried’. With two hazy jangle pop bands making up the roster for the night, a chill vibe descended on the Chicago venue and stayed throughout the night.
LA trio Tashaki Miyaki opened for the Allah-Las and set the rolling, leisurely pace. With Lucy Miyaki on drums and vocals (like female drummers aren’t impressive enough, but also taking on drums and lead vocals? Nice.) and backed by Rocky Tashaki (hence the name Tashaki Miyaki) and Dora Hiller on guitar and bass, the threesome combines hazy jangle pop with fuzzed out female harmonies at a sedate and stately pace. Give “Keep Me in Mind” a listen – it’s a good example of the band’s unhurried essence.
All sporting retro denim-esque button up shirts, and a sweet fur hat for the bassist, the Allah-las took the stage next (until about halfway through the set I was sure the frontman was wearing a bolo tie until I realized that I was just inserting it in my mind because it seemed so fitting with the attire). With a backdrop film of a dusty, deserted desert road with occasional windswept debris going by behind them, the band moved right into their slow, rolling, jangle-guitar driven indie rock. Moving between instrumental pieces and vocal driven tracks, the fivesome made their way through “Better than Mine” “Catamaran” and “Artifact”, taking heavily from their new album. The band not only has a sound reminiscent of the 70′s (I heard someone say that they reminded them of Jefferson Airplane), but their stage presence also embodies the chill vibe of the 70’s – lead singer Miles Michaud has a lop-sided smile he flashed at the audience as the band rolled through their tracks and dude was clearly not in a hurry – took them so long to come back on stage for their encore that honestly the applause had sort of trailed off, but it didn’t seem to bother the band at all. They came back in their own time and played their encore – after all, good things come to those who wait.
If you’re into 60’s-style garage-psych rock, then I have a band for you: LA’s Allah-Las. But, chances are, you may have already heard of them. If the sold-out jam-packed Horseshoe Tavern was any indicator on Thursday night, then Allah-Las are definitely a known band.
Rolling through the bulk of songs from their self-titled debut and this year’s Worship the Sun, the band impressed with fantastic live versions faithful to their studio-recorded counterparts. The jangly guitar tone was impeccable and vocal harmonies were spot-on. Most of the highlights (for me) of the set list came from their debut: “Busman’s Holiday,” “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind),” “Vis-à-Vis” and “Sandy.”
In a two-song encore, the set ended with the very danceable and 60’s-inspired “Every Girl,” the best track from Worship the Sun.
Though I rarely review (or even arrive in time to see!) support bands, I must make mention of Tashaki Miyaki, the LA trio that played before Allah-Las’ headlining set. Perfectly complementary to their tourmates, Tashaki Miyaki also sound like they take inspiration from the 60’s and garage rock. The one big difference (and an important one!) is that the vocalist sounds eerily like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. In a nutshell, this is how I’m describing Tashaki Miyaki: like a baby Hope Sandoval formed a lo-fi girl band version of the Jesus and Mary Chain. Basically? My dream band. I hadn’t heard of Tashaki MIyaki before this, but I was so properly impressed by their set that I made mental note to check them out after the show. Now I can’t stop listening to them. (Also, they’re not Japanese, so don’t even let their band name throw you off.) Moral of the story? Sometimes it’s a good idea to arrive early to see an opening band.
Hipster metal. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot and an easy way to dismiss a band, though I doubt there are any bands out there who self identify as hipster metal. I don’t really know of anyone in general who would self-identify as “hipster” and it would strike me as a little weird if they did … unless they happen to be Harry “The Hipster” Gibson. That cat’s earned it. Regardless, the term is out there now and Deafheaven are probably the number one target for the ire of those who see themselves as far too “trve” or “kvlt” to listen to anything Pitchfork would dare to write about. The fact that Deafheaven have been playing a series of shows put on by a sneaker company might possibly add fuel to the fire for the haters, but whatever – everybody’s gotta wear shoes, right?
Sure, Deafheaven may not have inverted crosses and severed goat heads as part of their stageshow, they wear no corpsepaint nor bullet belts, and the shoegaze component of their sound is just as prominent as the black metal influence if not moreso, but make no mistake – they put on a plenty heavy show. Frontman George Clarke comes across as quite an intense fellow during live performances and definitely knows how to work a crowd … not that the crowd really needed that much work to get riled up.
Deafheaven may have their detractors, and call them hipsters if you must, but they’ve got the goods live and ultimately that’s where it counts.
Chicago is a city of unexpected delights – you just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes the entire city smells of chocolate. Sometimes Lake Michigan fills with zombies. Sometimes you look outside your window and see people playing bubble soccer.
Chicago was at its most magical when it produced local bands Bailiff and Split Single for a show at Lincoln Hall Friday night. I’ve never felt more Chicagoan than right there, at my favorite Chicago venue, holding a green line beer, watching Josh Siegel, Ren Mathew and Owen O’Malley take the stage as Bailiff.
The group is bare-bones in the best of ways – with Siegel on lead vocals and guitar, Ren Mathew on drums and Owen O’Malley tearing it up on bass (I mean, I always understood theoretically that it was an important instrument, but now I actually get it. Good call Ms. Trainor) the threesome has exactly what it needs to produce rich and memorable songs with no unnecessary frills. The group obviously has a good local following, because Lincoln Hall filled out and got moving for them. Working their way through “Love Like Mine” “Helicopter” and “Golden Hour” the threesome not only produced some seriously wiggle worthy tracks but they also told some great stories, including how they finally moved up to a full sized van and said goodbye to their old ride ‘Jean-Claude “Minivan” Damme’. I’d see these guys again in a heartbeat just for the stage chatter.
Split Single took the stage next – that is all of Split Single besides frontman Jason Narducy, who took to the sound booth to sing to the audience from the back. There were several seconds of confusion until everyone got reoriented and enjoyed the sounds of (my personal favorite of theirs) “Waiting for the Sun.” Narducy, who hails from Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, and was a prominent member of the Chicago punk scene back in the 80′s, started the group in 2012 and put out his first record (with spoon’s Britt Daniel providing bass on the album) Fragmented World this past March. He and the band worked their way through a wide range of tracks (and musical genres – everything from indie to punk to shoegaze) with “Searches” “Last Goodbye” and (speaking of pleasant surprises – bringing it round full circle) the group finished up with a surprise cover of “Teenage Wasteland.” A delightful ending to a delightful night.