Allah-Las head up a triumvirate of retro-futurists to stop by Leaf Tea Shop, Getintothis’ Robert Alcock stops off to bask in the Golden State sunshine.
For their second gig in Liverpool, Californian retro-garage merchants Allah-Las brought the heat of a hazy summer in the Golden State to a humid night at Leaf Cafe.
Their debut album – one of the most perfectly formed nuggets of fuzzy pop classicism in recent years – ensured the venue was packed early doors, expectation palpable.
Liverpool five-piece Mohebbi kicked-off proceedings with a solid set of driving rock which drew on both blues and psych in equal measures. Languid rhythms and swirling guitar lines lent shades of The Verve – the band’s bittersweet vibe underlined by one pre-song dedication to the misery of being eternally skint, whether via the dole or in-work poverty.
Their closer dissolved into a wall of sound amid aggressively jarring slide guitar action. Mohebbi are swelling an already impressive array of Merseyside acts with a psych-rock grounding.
Mohebbi in full effect at Leaf in Liverpool
Mariachi trumpet tones marked the arrival of Glasgow/Edinburgh combo the Merrylees, who further augmented their angular guitar patterns with a fiddle. Both sides of their Bill Ryder-Jones-produced debut single were aired – For You and The Coroner – with the influence of the Coral strongly in evidence, not least via shanty-esque vocals.
Theirs is an eclectic musical concoction encompassing shimmering tremeloes, descending basslines, vocal harmonies and break-outs into gypsy swing. Richard Hawley is touted to produce their next single, hinting at a trend of hooking in big name artists to helm the studio desk.
Scottish fusionists The Merrylees supporting Allah-Las at Leaf
Featuring three alumni of Amoeba Music, the esteemed US indie record store chain, Allah-Las‘ backstory reads like a deleted sub-plot from High Fidelity. Matthew Correia, Spencer Dunham, Miles Michaud, and Pedrum Siadatian strolled casually to the stage and slipped into Don’t You Forget It, an equally casually delivered warning to an irksome lover, underpinned by a chiming guitar pattern worthy of vintage Zombies.
Their LP was comprehensively aired, replete with instrumentals Ela Navega and Sacred Sands. Bassist Dunham took vocal duties for the melancholic Vis-à-vis before LP highlights Busman’s Holiday and Catamaran – the latter their debut 45 and a statement of both romantic intent and an ode to cutting loose on a surf board.
Allah-Las making their live return to Leaf Tea Shop
Drummer Correia delivered the vocals for closer Long Journey. The briefest of breaks from the stage preceded the choppy chords of encore Every Girl, a post-album 7″ delivered with gusto and fervent tambourine action courtesy of singer Michaud.
Soon after, Michaud was manning the merch stand, cheerfully posing for photos, modelling T-shirts and signing vinyl. For a band that have captured a sound so perfectly on their debut LP the challenge of following it up is immense, but this gig was all about basking in the warm rays of timeless garage rock, delivered with soul and depth.
Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson
Further reading on Getintothis
Merseyside music’s top 25 tracks of 2013 so far.
Liverpool music 2013: Highs, lows and best of year so far.
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Deptford Goth to haunt Liverpool’s Leaf Tea Shop.
Yo La Tengo set for rare Liverpool date.