Electric Touch's Shane Lawlor helpfully points the way to the bathroom.
Shane Lawlor, lead singer of Austin-based Electric Touch introduced his quartet as “the smoothest rock and roll band in the world,” and they definitely looked the part: tight pants, button-down shirts and vests; guitarist Christopher Messina even wore an elaborately tied neck scarf. Though songs like “Dance” and “Love in Our Hearts,” were driving and energetic, drummer Louis Messina Jr. didn’t seem to break a sweat; if that’s not smooth, what is?
Warehouse Live’s studio was maybe half full, but a healthy number of audience members sang along, impressive for a band that has yet to release its first album (Electric Touch comes out August 26th on Houston’s Justice Records). “Like every good rock’n’roll band,” said Lawlor, “we use dynamics.”
They also used a lot of flair, accentuating each riff with swagger and pomp. Unfortunately, the well-manicured band’s cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” was mostly lost on the young audience, but the short set – barely 30 minutes – still left the crowd wanting more.
Photos by Amanda Mahmoudi
Headliners Phantom Planet’s intensity belied the still-thin crowd. The L.A. four-piece drew its set largely from recent release Raise The Dead (Fueled by Ramen), but older songs like “Bad Business” and “Knowitall” cropped up as well. Conceding that most of his songs “are about Lost and hieroglyphics,” singer Alex Greenwald’s witty banter quickly made the show a more intimate experience, drawing the crowd into conversation and sharing beers.
Greenwald even invited some fans to the stage to sing the chorus of the catchy “Leader.” After a couple of suggestive drum beats from drummer Jeff Conrad, the band acquiesced and played a cover of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” for the very first time.
During Greenwald’s solo performance of “I Don’t Mind,” the crowd’s chatter finally caught up with him. “Did you guys talk this much during our louder songs?” he asked. “I’m just baring my soul up here.” Phantom Planet is much more than their crowd-pleasing OC theme song “California” – the group plays with such an open spirit, the least their so-called fans could do is listen. – Amanda Mahmoudi
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