The Troubadour | Los Angeles, CA | March 31, 2017 | Photo Credit: Michelle Shiers
Armed with a bottle of Coppola wine and two production mates manning a laptop/synths and electric guitar (that guitar, a sharply righteous sonic accent), Allan Rayman brought his shadowy alter, Mr. Roadhouse, to vibrant life on the stage with his Hotel Tour effectively checking the Troubadour into Hotel Allan.
Chances are good that you’ve never seen a stage performance quite like what Rayman throws down and – truth be told – it’s almost flagrant exhibitionism from the notoriously enigmatic artist but it’s also stunningly effective. Affecting. Rayman’s alt R&B steers beautifully clear of the painfully banal musical tropes that litter the genre’s field and once he took the stage in front of the word “ALLAN” projected overhead only to be doused in darkness, it was on. As compelling as the voice that you hear on his albums Hotel Allan and Roadhouse 01 is, it’s a mere shade of what he flexes live; his textured and elastic vocal range on display accompanied by the jagged and angsty physicality of using his body as a full-blown emotional conduit along with occasional bouts of maniacal laughter. The whole of it registered more as an “experience” than a “show”, with Rayman managing to make his particular form of disconnect feel intimate and absolutely riveting. Yeah, chances are good that you’ve never seen a performer or performance quite like this.
More than anyone in the sold out Troubadour expected, Rayman took moments to simply speak. You know, talk; something he made a point of pointing out that he doesn’t particularly care for. Indeed, it showed as his words tripped out nervously guarding against too much vulnerable exposure, but the effort to connect and, as importantly, acknowledge his present circumstance (after all, he was standing on a stage formative to the careers of Elton John, the Eagles, Carole King and Guns N’ Roses) was appreciated. And once he (for lack of better phrasing) “retreated” back into Mr. Roadhouse, once again it was on.
Welcome to Hotel Allan.
Set List: “Tennessee” / “Sweetheart” / “Graceland” / “Faust Road” / “Repeat” / “God Is A Woman” / “Much Too Much” / “27” / “Lucy The Tease” / “Barry Moves” / “All At Once” / “25:22” / “13” / “Head Over Heels” / “Word Of Mouth”
The sounds of Mariachi music courtesy of local musicians? How else would one warm up a crowd for an Allan Rayman show? Happy Cesar Chavez Day.