Allah-las, Nick Waterhouse And The Tarots Show Their Hand At Johnny Brenda’s
|Allah-las at Johnny Brenda’s|
Nick Waterhouse and the Allah-las made the Philadelphia stop on their tour Wednesday evening, playing a pair of impressive sets to the well-attended concert at Johnny Brenda’s. Both acts shared several similarities as rising California bands with a tremendous knack for performing well live, albeit with two different styles of throwback music as they played in support of their respective debut albums.
Touring off their Waterhouse-produced LP that had only been released last month, the Allah-las opened the set with their instrumental jam “Ela Navega” before drifting into a brilliant cut of “Busman’s Holiday.” As the Los Angeles beach rock band wound through their set, which included “Catalina,” “Sacred Sands,” and “Don’t You Forget It,” it was easy to be swept up by the impeccable quality of the Allah-las sound. On what lead singer Miles Michaud said was only the Allah-las’ first tour of the East Coast, the band has managed to master their sound level with an uncanny sense of balance. The Allah-las seemed to underscore that ability by closing their slot on stage with “Long Journey,” a bass-heavy track with some well-strummed arrangements.
|Waterhouse and the Tarots|
Waterhouse and the Tarots followed the Allah-las, bringing the full power of their gritty style of soul and rhythm and blues from the record Time’s All Gone. Each member of the expanded seven-piece band displayed a shade of scene-stealing abilities with their respective instruments, allowing each Tarot to shine with a little flair throughout their set. This was especially true of backing vocalist Erin Jo Harris and saxophone player George Schafer. A show unto herself, Harris is a recent edition to the Tarots. The Denver native, who especially stood out on the songs “Raina” and “Say I Wanna Know” joined the band in mid-September for their current tour. It did not take long for Harris to captivate the crowd, however, as she delivered a series of backing vocals which floated between being mystifying and soulful.
As the show progressed, a decent portion of the crowd that was gathered directly in front of the stage began to dance to the grooves of the band as they roared through the bulk of Time’s All Gone. Schafer played well to that portion of the audience, delivering several raunchy saxophone bits that were the flashiest aspect of the group’s sound. Waterhouse and the Tarots also flashed some unreleased material, “Money,” a track which worked particularly well in its live incarnation.
After a true encore where those in attendance were demanding more, Waterhouse, the Tarots, and the Allah-las came onto the crowded stage to wrap the show with a fun version of The Womack Brothers’ “It’s All Over Now.”
This was not the first trip to Philadelphia for Waterhouse, who has already cultivated a relationship with the radio station WXPN. The singer informed the crowd that he almost moved to the City of Brotherly Love after living there for three months during a past relationship. Waterhouse and Schaffer also jammed with Philly-born singer Daryl Hall in the September episode of the webcast Live From Daryl’s House. Odds are that it will not be the last for either Waterhouse or the Allah-las, both of whom are must-see acts.