Las Rosas at Voltaire

Published on June 3rd, 2018

“You in a band?” is a question just about every eccentric over 20 fields while navigating the supposedly real world on any given weekday. It’s a fair question, but the truth is, most people — not even the freaks — have the chutzpah to commit artistically to their youthful angst after they’ve passed through adolescence (although some tell themselves they’re totally pulling it off). Teen-aged punks retire, believing there’s no valid, unclaimed musical space after 18 for really venting.

But that’s not entirely true. Consider Brooklyn’s Las Rosas, who remind us that punk can be beautifully melodic — an aim that gets conflated with age, softness, selling out or worse — and still be intense. 

Las Rosas unavoidably wear the “paisley punk” epithet attached to  bands trading in “Nuggets”-era, hallucinogen-inspired garage punk. But unlike others who might name-check the likes of the Sonics, Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators, Las Rosas are a wholly believable band of acid eaters — three dudes who dig jangly pop melodies and fuzzed-out guitars, and seem to be fronted by Syd Barrett’s doppelgänger.

It has to be said that many, perhaps most, bands in the pysch-garage continuum are (or were) great in the controlled setting of a recording space, and sound(ed) brilliant on their albums, but not when strapped with the pressure of performing for a crowd. Las Rosas do not suffer  this affliction. Go find them on YouTube at South by Southwest in 2017 or on a Paris street playing for Mad Girls magazine. They entertain live as surely as they do with their scrupulously made new album, “Shadow by Your Side.”

The world doesn’t need more bands — the Internet licenses every musician with delusions of adequacy to gull an unsuspecting public. The world needs better bands; good bands. Las Rosas are a good band. They have chops, style, confidence and attitude to spare — and therefore a fighting chance against a Web-enabled glut of posers, pretenders and would-be Svengalis promising resources and artistic “advice.” They have protection, in other words, from the temptation to quit too soon.

Las Rosas plays 8pm. June 12 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach with Tingy Thick, Ben Katzman’s Degreaser and Milk Spot. ~ Tim Moffatt

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