The Los Angeles two-piece KOLARS is positively thrilling, surging with a sound that reaches back to '50s rock and drags it through '60s experimentalism, '70s disco and conceptual boldness, '80s post-punk and sheen, and the widescreen dazzle of arena artists of today. That KOLARS is able to make all of this play as well as they do is something like a magic trick, never selling out any of their inspirations, but rather combining them in ways that might've felt impossible before you heard them.
All of this is accomplished with just a two-piece. Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown formed KOLARS in 2016 before releasing their 2017 self-titled debut LP. Kolar serves as the resident guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, while Brown provides the most scintillatingly expressive percussion – in addition to playing a standing drum kit, she adds additional texture by using her tap shoes, making hers a full-body performance.
Kolar, meanwhile, occupies the position of the swaggering frontman, more often than not calling upon the spirit of Elvis Presley for his vocals and his general presence. There are times when it feels like a pop idol from 60 years ago has been transported to the age of pop cultural omnivorousness. Even when things get especially poppy, as on crowd-pleasing anthem “Dizzy,” Kolar keeps a firm hold on the proceedings with a sunburnt croon.
KOLARS like to describe their music in a few different ways: “desert disco,” “glam-a-billy,” and “space blues.”
There's some truth to each of those classifications, but it doesn't quite paint the whole picture. Yes, KOLARS play around with the aural convergence of glitz and dirt, but their primary export is in the sheer amount of energy their live shows expend. On stage, KOLARS explodes with headlong momentum and an unbridled, viscerally connective presence. Brown works her whole body to play those drums and provide tap-dancing percussion, and Kolar is similarly dialed in, feeding off of Brown's energy and responding with his own.
What results is a two-piece that's so ridiculously suffused with vitality that it puts many full bands to shame. We seem to be leaving the age when bands would err towards apathy and listlessly stand on a stage, stock-still, and strum their guitars. KOLARS is a band that's made up of joyous movement, and one that implores the audience to respond in kind. At Fawcett Hall, KOLARS is ready and set to light you up.
Grab your tickets to see them November 9th, all ages!