Off Center Festival at Segerstrom Art Plaza
The vibe on Saturday night during the Allah Las Off Center Festival performance at Segerstrom Arts Plaza felt fitting for pulling out the 8mm camera, and taking in film footage of the LA band and their vintage rock sound. At first, the flow of pedestrian traffic into the center was slight, with a couple dozen late teens, mid-twenties, and early 30-somethings establishing their spots by sitting near the front of the stage. The denim clad, wild hair, cuffed-jeaned and sneakered crowd was slowly taking over the plaza center, while inside the Segerstrom Center The Passion of Joan of Arc ensued. Crossed legged the crowd sat, with no real boundaries, waiting for the 8:30 p.m. set time to come round.
With a new year full of new endeavors, Allah Las decided to start off their 2016 with a free performance in the Segerstrom Center for Party on the Plaza. With two albums under their belt, they are set to release a fresh batchof songs on their upcoming album, pressed by a new label that has yet to be revealed. With this change also comes a musical maturity that has grown and is obvious as they settle on stage with complete comfort in front of a full audience that has filled in entirely and covers the plaza space.
On guitar and vocals we have Miles Michaud, Matthew Correia on drums and vocals, Pedrum Siadatian supporting with lead guitar and vocals, and Spencer Dunham completing the foursome on bass and backup vocals. Since their second album, Worship the Sun features keys and extra percussion, the group was joined on Saturday by two additional players on piano and percussion.
The band took their time pushing through a 75-minute set full of their well-known favorites and unreleased tracks. They savoured every moment of their own nostalgic sound. There is some trigger in their ‘60s garage-style music, whether it is the composition, the vintage gear, or the laid-back attitude, that elicits an endorphin that mellows onlookers. These are gentlemen who are free with the wind, and the fact they have settled down in Orange County for the evening is a rare treat.
Their authentic essence stems from a close kinship and respect for the sound of the band, not necessarily the individual. Each piece of sought after gear makes a clear difference that defines them as garage surf soul musicians. With vintage amps and instruments, the band’s warm glow of electrical current is somehow configured different than in modern equipment, and gives the music an essential character that produces a sense of longing for the time of The Byrds, The Animals, and The Velvet Underground. As they finished their final song for the evening, there was no encore, no long sweet goodbye, but rather a quick exit, and some slight meandering near the merch area—as if they are ready to move onward to the future festivals, concerts, and outside countries this year will bring.
Follow Me Down
YRW (New Song)
Trifecta (**Tell Me What’s On Your Mind)
Had It All
Roadside Memorial Service (New Song)
Calm Me Down
Better Than Mine