On the evening of September 9th, KCPR presented our first show since live music was disrupted by COVID-19 induced restrictions.
Supported by the nostalgic sounds that blur the lines of vintage and modern folk-pop from the band Mapache, Los Angeles-based band Allah-Las took the stage at local venue SLO Brew Rock for an ethereal, modern-psychedelic-meets-indie-rock spectacle.
Audience members who showed up ahead of time to enjoy the rustic scenery and remnants of a late summer evening got to sit at picnic tables and listen to the opening band’s soundcheck. As Mapache played through the chorus of “I Love My Dog,” the concert hall buzzed as fellow college students talked to classmates they recognized from their online Zoom meetings. An air of enthusiasm filled the venue as friends threw their arms around one another and ruminated how much time has passed since the last live show they’d seen.
People gradually started drifting inside to grab drinks and chat against the backdrop of velvety silver curtains and cool-toned lighting. Noise and commotion were built, and the string of lights hung over the venue grew brighter against the night sky until Mapache came out on stage. Mapache’s set was full of twangy guitar solos and expressive, folk-style vocal harmonies; it elegantly provided the audience with a space to appreciate the company of friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and strangers. Peoples’ expressions of their contentment to share this moment ranged from quiet head nodding to exuberant dancing.
After a brief intermission between sets, the crowd welcomed the Allah-Las onstage with a shift in energy from relaxed enjoyment to wild excitement. The band immediately built a lasting sense of anticipation for their music by kicking things off with a heavy drum groove and upbeat melody. The crowd was receptive to the music — people danced, moshed, sang along, crowd surfed, and threw their clothing in the air in an ongoing conversation between the performers and audience. The band’s wailing guitar solos, lively riffs played between songs, and passionate vocals drew people close to the stage.
Although this may have been the first show some people attended in months, once the crowd came together, a sense of familiarity and community surrounded the concert. The night ended with a sense of optimism and excitement looking forward to future shows.
Addie Woltkamp is a biochemistry major and content writer for KCPR. Jackie Espitia is an art & design major and photographer for Mustang Media Group.