February 2nd, 2018 | Live reviews

Photos by Danny Hernandez Words by Madison Desler

There are certain times when a venue and a band are perfectly matched—The Ramones at CBGB and The Doors at the Whiskey A Go Go serving as prime, bi-coastal examples. It can be a rare occurrence—the music and the mood of the place creating a heightened experience that feels like more of an event, a phenomenon, a happening. As soon as Allah-Las took the stage at the Lodge Room last night (the first of three sold-out shows at the Highland Park venue) it became clear that this was a superb match—the quintessential northeast Los Angeles night.

The Lodge Room is aptly named, its warm atmosphere and classic good looks recalling not only the Masonic Lodge it used to be, but also the casual elegance of a well-designed mountain chalet. This makes for an unpretentious but inherently hip vibe, which paired perfectly with a band that could be described in very much the same terms. Since their formation in Los Angeles in 2008, Allah-Las have steadily released impressive, understated, wonderfully innocuous music—a mixture of surf, garage, psych, and soul that bears a very clear imprint of the golden beaches and mysterious deserts of their home state.

Take the sweetly mournful “Sandy,” which sounds like a solitary walk on the beach, or the heatwave shimmer and desert thunder of “Busman’s Holiday.” Both songs were greeted by roars of recognition as soon as frontman Miles Michaud and the band launched into them—the surfy sounds heightened by the balmy-for-January weather and cold beer. A very content crowed swayed under the glowing lights to the Endless Summer-flavored instrumental, “Sacred Sands,” the unreleased Television song off of their recent EP of covers, “Hard On Love,” and the sleepy pop of the Matthew Correia-led “200 South La Brea,” which looks at the realities of “making it” in Los Angeles through a lackadaisical lens—even further proof that the band has mastered the sounds of the city.

The show was opened by Tim Hill, followed by the sweet sounds of Gabriella Cohen—the mildy retro flavor and dreamy harmonies of her intimate, two-person set putting the audience under her spell.