The line remained out the door at 9:15pm for those awaiting to see the Los Angeles-based Allah-Las. Wide-eyed and eager concertgoers were welcomed into the Starline Social Club, an Oakland bar/restaurant/venue, by friendly faces and a steep, antiquated staircase. Starline’s “ballroom” was reminiscent of a dance studio with its expansive wooden flooring and high ceilings. The bar in the back and the stage in the corner of the room, however, let the crowd know that this was no ballet studio.
With a no-frill entrance that began with the band, led by guitarist and vocalist Pedrum Siadatian, finding their way onto the stage through the mass of people, the night took off. The garage/surfer rock riffs and jangles took the audience away from reality and deposited them into a world of endless sunshine for the duration of the hour-long set. While the intentions of the Allah-Las’ mid-tempos and gentle lyrics may not be to generate frenzy, that is exactly what happened a number of times this past Saturday night. When the first notes of one of their more popular songs, “Catamaran,” were played the crowd immediately responded. They began throwing themselves into each other in the fashion that all rock concert aficionados know and love, causing the whole room to sway along in a wave like motion.
The Starline is a minimalist venue and served the perfect platform for Saturday night’s performance. The Allah-Las proffer simplicity in their music and lyrics, yet the technicalities of their performance did not go unnoticed. After the show the band remained in the room instead of disappearing into an unknown backstage as is too often the case. While they are more than far from being unknowns, they exude an approachable quality that pervaded the night and allowed for an unparalleled connection with the audience. They are the common person’s rock band, as exemplified in both their live performance and in their music.
Article by Jacob Elsanadi featuring photos by Sofia Duarte