Show Review: Allo Darlin @ Mohawk (5/1)

After a week spent listening to psychedelic rock n’ roll, I needed something to cleanse the spirits.  I just wanted something refreshing and fun, something to get me back into the mood for a relaxing week, and Allo’ Darlin and the Wave Pictures definitely helped me out.

Read on for thoughts on all the night’s acts and sweet photos from B. Gray.

No Future, the band formerly known as Leatherbag, started off the night for us all, and I think the change in name and sound has strengthened the band a great bit.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they covered a Sonny and the Sunsets jam, but their other workings came off really strong.  I sort of had the Replacements in my head when I was thinknig of how to define their songs, though they definitely have a poppier edge to them.  They continue to grow as a band, and finalizing the line-up might just make them one of the biggest stars in town.

I was really anticipating the performance of the Wave Pictures for some time after being turned on to them by my friend Kevin of WYR?.  While they might have been the most unassuming band I’ve ever encountered, they did an excellent job winning over the crowd.  Guitarist David did a wonderful job of entertaining the crowd between songs with his banter, offering us insight on where to store your bananas. But, what really stuck out to me was how incredible the band is, musically speaking.  Their blend of pop often led me to overlook the intricate guitar work in their songs, but in the live setting it definitely plays a larger role.  Perhaps the band could have done more to give a little step to their live performance, but with songs like “Eskimo Kiss” and “Spaghetti” from their recent record, Long Black Cars, in their arsenal, they still have the licks to make you swoon.  A great highlight for everyone was when Johnny stepped out from behind the drums to serenade us as Dave and Franic played the accompaniment on guitar and bass, respectively.

Honestly, I had no idea how much I would enjoy Allo’ Darlin live; I really had just familiarized myself with their excellent effort, Europe, within the last month.  That being said, they were clearly the stand-out act of the entire evening, playing the most energetic set of twee pop numbers.  With songs like “Capricornia” and “Erurope,” I didn’t expect Elizabeth Morris to be so exuberant on the stage, but her smiles and slithering stage antics indicated that she was determined to have the time of her life inside the Mohawk. Her infectious attitude pervaded both the audience and the stage, as it was hard to miss the large smile worn by bouncing bassist Bill Botting throughout the set.  Perhaps it’s Morris’ vocal inflection (i.e. accent), but I often thought of Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, a comparison that also seems to fit the sound of Allo’ Darlin.  Yet on reflecting upon the straight-forward approach of this quartet, their directness benefits the live performance, clearly putting more energy into each song than their Scottish counterparts.  I love both groups, but after watching Elizabeth and company I’m going to top the scales in their favor–such a great set that I left smiling to myself.

There are a few more pics at the photo site

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