Shakey Graves & KOLARS at The Wiltern

The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA | December 4, 2018 | Photos: ZB Images |

Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a music-maker of a unique kind. As Shakey Graves he has always trafficed in a warm form of Americana and country-laced rock, thick with consciousness and wit and – unsurprisingly – Los Angeles was there for it and for him at the Wiltern.

There for the familiar folk and storytelling notes that he flawlessly strikes, there for his vocal scrapes, howls and coos, and there for the soft psychedelic shapes that he musically pulls, particularly on his latest album, Can’t Wake Up, because – while Graves hails from Austin, Texas – he occupied LA space for about 5 years and created a good deal of music during that time.

And so we were treated to Graves’ undeniable, earthy and boyish charm through songs like “Roll the Bones,” “Excuses,” “Cops and Robbers,” and “Mansion Door,” him throwing down the most exquisite lullaby “Counting Sheep,” putting a strikingly gorgeous haunt on Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,” colorful memories of his LA life complete with middle-aged cholos and fast cars, and all of it wrapped up in humble gratitude to long-time friends and show openers KOLARS, to the room flush with love, and a city that always welcomes him and his cowboy hat back.

The Texas gentleman in Graves even saw fit to put his guitarist, Patrick O’Connor, on blast in a good way: the Los Angeles native used to be an usher at the Wiltern and was playing on its historic stage for the very first time. And the evening came to a lively close with the Wiltern crowd firmly in Graves’ hands, matching him with handclaps and shout/singing “Dearly Departed” back at him with everything they had.

Shakey Graves


The last time that we saw the husband and wife dynamic duo of Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown aka KOLARS, it was all fun and games until Rob went full rock ‘n roll by breaking his leg during a typically high energy set at Los Angeles music festival, Echo Park Rising in August. Seriously, that happened.

But on this night there were no injuries (that we know of) as the twosome showed that, indeed, it does take two to make it outta sight with their glam rockabilly that is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the ears. With Kolar as the hip swinging, Buddy Holly/Elvis hybrid, as unafraid to rock eye glitter and eyeliner as Brown with her innovative way of attacking the art of percussion with all four of her limbs (has tap dancing ever been this cool?), they are a hell of an audio/visual combination. While there were quite a few in the room who were familiar with how KOLARS roll, those who were not registered reactions that ranged from impressed smiles to dancing to “Holy shit!”

I assumed that last one meant that they really enjoyed KOLARS.