He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of KOLARS

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 at 5:07 am by

KOLARS is a Los Angeles-based rock duo, formerly of folk outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, and the latest in our “He Said/She Said” music series. They’ve been relentlessly on tour for the past three years (over 400 shows since 2016), and while Passover prevented us from getting to the New York gig, we caught the Boston one – and were pretty happy we did.

Show Location

Holly: Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA

Elie: Rough Trade NYC

Beverages Consumed

Holly: 1 can of Guinness, and, immediately following the opener, another one.

Elie: 4 cups of wine (and then some) during the Passover seder.

Opener

Holly: I walked in one or two songs late for the opener. My immediate thought was, “what the fuck did I just walk into,” and walked straight to the bar. It was Calliope Musical, from Austin, Texas – a Flaming Lips-esque, zany, kaleidoscopic assault of characters, props and lighting. The lead singer has a great voice, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the whole thing sounded like a rock opera put on by Princess Unkitty from Cloud Cuckoo Land, or a weird dream sequence in a Baz Luhrman movie. There was also a bandmate with bright red hair running around all night wearing a white hazmat suit, bearing a strong resemblance to the Muppets‘ Beaker. It was quite a scene. Their hooks and melodies were very catchy, and they seemed to have upbeat personalities.  It was a lot to walk into for a somewhat sober Wednesday night, but certainly not for the three gyrating kids front and center stage, who, in-between sets said, “Let’s get another beer and kick this next band up a notch!” Let’s not.

Elie: I’m glad Holly was the one who sat through it, and not me.

Expectations

Holly: According to Wikipedia, KOLARS’ sound is described as “Desert Disco, Space Blues, and Glamabilly.” So my expectations naturally gravitated towards a Vin Diesel Riddick-style spectacle. Their self-titled debut has been on my rotation for a bit, and it’s definitely likable.

Elie: I had not heard of KOLARS until Holly told me about them. My expectations were low. I was wrong.

Favorite Part of the Set

Holly: KOLARS opened with a Neutral Milk Hotel cover, “King of Carrot Flowers,” which was pretty great. This husband/wife duo makes a lot of noise and has a big drum sound that The Vaccines capture so well. Drummer Lauren Brown also integrates tap dancing atop a drum kit into her rhythm, which I thought was going to be gimmicky, but it was actually really cool.

It was refreshing to watch this stripped down, tight set after the opening hoopla. Speaking of stripped down, at one point early into the show, Brown complained about her ripped tights falling down, and decided to hoist them back up from her drum kit perch. Rock n’ roll?

Elie: Being introduced to their self-titled 2017 release. Standout track – “Turn out the Lights.”

Gripes

Holly: It would’ve been nice to have the vocal mic turned up a bit, or get lead singer Rob Kolar to sing closer to it. He has a solid glam voice – let’s hear it! Also missed were the backup vocals from the album – presumably Lauren Brown’s pipes. There also wasn’t much banter with the crowd –  everybody loves a mini VH1 storytellers behind the music.

Elie: That I couldn’t make it to Rough Trade in time.

Best Song Performed

Holly: “Dizzy.” The guitar riff is the stuff that summer’s made out of. The crowd was all casual, arms swinging and dancing around. Good vibe.

Elie: Dayenu at seder.

Something You Saw that the Rest of the Crowd Didn’t

Holly: The kitchen of the Middle East restaurant. I entered the club at the wrong entrance (there are at least three), and a member of the kitchen staff took pity on me and weaved me through the secret speakeasy way. Should’ve asked for some hummus.

Elie: That there was no hummus in our kitchen.

Would You See Them Again?

Holly: Sure thing.

Elie: Yes, next time they come around.

Recent Stories

Woman Punches Uber Driver in the Face on Ludlow Street

A woman jumped into an Uber on Ludlow Street and assaulted the driver, police said. On Sunday night, approximately 10:00pm, the woman entered the cab outside 121 Ludlow Street, unwarranted, and allegedly punched the driver in the face. He sustained a fat lip, and is otherwise okay. It’s unclear what prompted the belligerence. However, the […]

Economy Candy and the Pandemic Halloween

With Halloween just a few days hence, we checked in with local love Economy Candy, to see how owners Skye and Mitchell Cohen are managing the pandemic during a peak holiday for the Lower East Side confectioners. As you can imagine, Halloween has always been a big deal in the Economy Candy family. “Growing up, […]

Deaf Tenants Allege Years of Neglect and Poor Living Conditions on Forsyth Street

Deaf tenants in HUD housing on the Lower East Side are organizing to demand better living conditions after years of purported neglect. The buildings comprising 174-184 Forsyth Street were constructed in March 1994 specifically for low-income deaf and hearing-impaired tenants. New York Society for the Deaf owns the six-story, half-block complex, which was financed by […]

SLA Suspends Rochelle’s on Chrystie Street for COVID Violations

Another Lower East Side bar was caught flouting state COVID-19 related regulations earlier this month. The state’s multi-agency task force busted Rochelle’s (aka Leave Rochelle out of It) after an inspection on October 9, Governor Cuomo’s office announced late Friday. Investigators observed seven patrons standing and mingling inside 19 Stanton Street without face masks. The […]

Tombstone Secured for Homeless Man Beaten to Death on the Bowery Last Year

Earlier this month marked one year since four homeless men were murdered while asleep on the Bowery. Since the anniversary, a fundraising campaign to secure a tombstone for one of the victims was successful. Chuen Kwok had fallen on hard times after the passing of his partner. He eventually found refuge living on the streets […]