Live Review: ALASKALASKA - Omeara, London 15/05/2019
ALASKALASKA released their debut album ‘The Dots’ at the start of the month, and whilst touring in support of the release, they filled the cavernous room of Omeara with an effervescent energy of good vibes and celebration.
For those familiar with ALASKALASKA and their album artwork of simplistic drawings of the human form with flashes of technicolour to develop the characteristics, it would come as no surprise that the band entered the stage to Gene Wilder’s rendition of Pure Imagination – a song that is sentimental of most of their listeners childhood. As ALASKALASKA assumed positions, they invited the crowd to sing along before delving into the electro synth-bath of ‘Skin’. Bathed in purple light as the looping intro of ‘The Dots’ kicked in, the band had already captivated and hypnotised the crowd to their charms.
Whilst listening to the studio recordings – and all of their elements – you can be forgiven for questioning how ALASKALASKA can pull the songs off, live. Somehow with the acoustics of the room and hearing the combination of the live instruments, the atmosphere is amplified beyond recognition. Lucinda John-Duarte’s distinct intonation paired with the wailing guitars make the build-up of ‘Monster’ quite an intense experience. There is a silky sultriness that surrounds ‘Arrows’ which almost certainly comes from the lower notes of Fraser Smith’s touch on the saxophone. What ALASKALASKA do best, is take the listener on a journey, that at times can feel like vacating the body.
Playing a set that included almost the entire album meant that the garage rock inspired ‘Tough Love’ and the reflection on consumer society; ‘Bees’ are received with the crowd dancing along and singing the lyrics back to the band. There’s a solemn intimacy formed between ALASKALASKA and their fans which was further solidified by the rendition of ‘Sweat’. The song has the feel of peering into someone’s personal diary. Whether they’re discussing insecurities, or political curiosity, there is never a moment of discomfort.
When it’s time for their set to come to an end, you could feel the crowd pushing for a little bit more. Lucinda tells the room: “we don’t have any more. This is really our last song, but thank you very much. I really can’t express how nice this is – we weren’t expecting this.” The subtle air of naivety that comes with their honesty just makes ALASKALASKA all the more desirable to see. Crowd favourite ‘Moon’, which details the changing emotions and feelings toward humanity that Lucinda faces on her menstrual cycle, gets everyone dancing with its funky sax and staccato bass lines.
Given the reception to their debut album and the preciseness in which they perform, it is a given that the South London based band have nothing but great things in store for them.
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly