This past Friday, the 28th of June as I was sitting on a grassy rise under the stars just several yards away from the Allah-Las life felt free and easy. It had been a particularly grueling week at work, the temperature was uncharacteristically high for this time of year but that all washed away as I listened to Miles and the boys. What made this end of the week evening even better was that moments earlier I got to experience two acts live for the first time, Prince Rama and Gothic Tropic. After the bands, there was an after party downstairs with DJ Sets by KXLU and Honey Power. All this for FREE.
In fact, almost every Friday night until August 2 there will be great performances at the FIGAT7TH Downtown Festival at 7th and Figueroa in Los Angeles. You can check out the schedule here : Figat7th arts and events
Gothic Tropic is Cecilia Della Peruti on Guitar and main vocals, Lia Braswell on Drums and vocals, and Daniel Denton on bass. I knew of Lia Braswell's work with Le Butcherettes and have seen her crazy prowess on the drums for the now defunct Peter Pants but I had never seen Gothic Tropic live. Their short set provided a great introduction. The songs are jammy post punk with progressive rock flashes, shifting time signatures that switch things up and flavors that sometimes border on tropical punk. Cecilia's guitar work moves smoothly from attack mode to melodic (sometimes off kilter) lead lines held up by Daniel's full bass work. Lia is so much fun to watch on the drums. I was a drummer in what feels like a former life and I found myself just staring at her patterns and solid chops. The songs were catchy as well and I look so forward to seeing them again.
Brooklyn based Prince Rama (sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson) create a pulsating rhythmic dose of kinetic psychedelic sounds churned out by synths and live drumming (and possibly some loops or tapes). Trippy and fun, they got more than a few people who seemed to be in their own head space just dancing the night away.
The Allah-Las recently came back from a successful performance at the Best Kept Secret Festival in the Netherlands. Miles (guitar and principal vocalist) was a bit under the weather but they still played an awesome set. His illness just meant that his vocals sounded a bit more gravelly. They played quite a few songs of their latest self titled album to a packed crowd. Their folk garage rock conjures up musical thoughts of the Stones, Eric Burdon and the Animals, the Byrds, the Doors and even Lou Reed. Their sound is kind of cross-generational and casts out a wide net to a wide age group. That was apparent at this performance as people from 5 years old to 50 plus enjoying the music.
(click on pics to enlarge)