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

Exile on Orchard Street: Tenement Museum Recreates Exhibits During Renovations

The Tenement Museum is amidst a preservation project at 97 Orchard Street, but will continue its programming with replicas not too far away. The 1863-era tenement this past Sunday embarked on “vital” restoration work to preserve its walls, floors, roof, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system that will provide improved climate […]

Former Home of Stanton Social on the LES Hits Market for $5.9M

Stanton Social has been in the grave for nearly four years. Now, its former home is back on the market. The two-story building – located at 99 Stanton Street in Hell Square – carries an asking price of $5.9 million. B6 Real Estate Advisors is listed as the exclusive brokerage for the property, which has […]

DOT to Pave Pock-Marked Pell Street; Sheds Removed

Pell Street is finally on deck for a resurfacing, forcing numerous Chinatown businesses to dismantle their street shed annexes. Those who operate outdoor dining sheds along Pell Street received notice this week from the Department of Transportation to dismantle structure ahead of scheduled street repaving. This small neighborhood street – which once terminated at Division – […]

Immersive ‘Squid Game’ Experience on the Lower East Side

Netflix smash, Squid Game, is coming to real life. On the Lower East Side. In the fall, international gaming company Immersive Gamebox will take space inside 81 Essex Street, the big-box building occupied by the International Center of Photography. Its primary experience will be a multiplayer game built around the Squid Game series. The immersive […]

Owners of Gertie Eye Market Street for ‘Jackie’ (Updated)

Huertas and Gertie meet for Jackie. That is the narrative for a new restaurant in Two Bridges that features the owners behind both aforementioned establishments. Indeed, Nathan Adler and Rachel Jackson (principals behind Brooklyn’s Gertie) are planning a new Italian-American restaurant at 42 Market Street. The fourteen table concept, dubbed Jackie, will feature “good food […]