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LOLO, Allan Rayman, Thee Idea Men and Mothers @ Milkboy.

February 8, 2016


Text by Chris Malo. Images by Magdalena Papaioannou.

Last Thursday, on a night that wasn’t sure if it was summer or winter, Communion Music touched down at Milkboy to give the audience a four-act-deep bill. The monthly installment of the UK-based record label/concert promoter/music publisher arranges small tours for independent artist to gain exposure and touring experience, with a diverse range that includes one local slot.

For their February showcase, Mothers, Thee Idea Men, Allan Rayman and LOLO squeezed upstairs at Milkboy to give fans a show.

First up, was Mothers, a four piece outfit out of Georgia. The crowd of 50 or 60 listened to the acquired taste vocals of frontwoman Kristine Leschper serenade the audience as she played guitar, backed my two other guitars and a drummer, producing a sound that flowed from delicate and soft to violent and chaotic, a la bands like Liars with an art/dance punk vibe.


Second to take the stage, Philly representatives Thee Idea Men. The four-piece band’s 2014 album, New Level Shoes, was recorded and mixed by Milkboy’s own Tommy Joyner. With a bluesy rock aesthetic, Matthew Jurasek took the growing audience through a set with cuts that included lyrics such as, “I don’t even know your name and I don’t care,” and “I didn’t want you to leave baby, I didn’t want you to go,” before playing a song he couldn’t remember the name to (“Bruce baby?”) and a new track, “I Think About It.” The heavy rock vibe wove through each song and the audience went for the ride, enjoying Jurasek’s banter and following his direction to get low to the ground during one song.


Next up was Toronto’s Allan Rayman. The performance was reminiscent of something often heard by old(er) heads in Philly music circles.

“I remember seeing Nirvana at Dobbs on South Street before they were big.”

“I was at Kung Fu Necktie when Odd Future filmed that thing for MTV right before they were big.”

Not suggesting Allan’s future has Nirvana stratosphere written all over it, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him playing larger venues his next visits to Philly.

Hopefully you were in attendance the other night to see the performance. Because it was a performance. A small table, a chair, a bottle of wine and a candle. Songs were punctuated (or cut off) with a ringing telephone and occasional voicemail from a young lady. There is a story to tell and it was told in a gimmick-free narrative.

The storytelling voice was a bit raspy, with an ATL flow and a body draped in an oversized NYSE shirt and worn black hat. Allan gyrated like Janis Joplin with a vocal style somewhere between spoken word and rap, none of which feels contrived. With an arm draped over the mic and mic stand (half for support, half hidng his face), he delivered lyrics and a performance the crowd devoured. Silent in places to listen to the words, applauding with conviction after each song as he returned to briefly sit at the table on stage, it was easy to predict the long line at the merch table after his performance and women clamoring for an autograph and selfie.

A look at videos released for his last project shows he not only has an ear or an eye but a vision.




The saddest part of the evening was LOLO’s performance. Heartbreakingly sad. Not because it was bad but because it was brilliant, yet nearly everyone had left before she donned her fur coat and took the stage.

The phenomenally talented LOLO (who not only appeared on Panic at the Disco’s Miss Jackson, but co-wrote 8 songs on their new album) was a force on the stage. While Allan moved like Joplin, LOLO embodies and channels her. The soul music within her small frame exudes through her powerful vocals. Her experience performing in the the Broadway musical Spring Awakening begins to make perfect sense.

Much of the above regarding Allan’s future could also be said again about Lolo. Her talent is undeniable (which I realize begs the question: Why did everyone leave? I have no fucking idea.) It is impossible to not imagine her at The Fillmore soon.


There’s something to be said about shows not at major or corporate venues. Just because Ticketmaster isn’t the entity selling the tickets or just because you may not have heard of an artist, doesn’t mean there are promotors out there putting together shows and tours that the focus isn’t just ticket sales but super talented artists.

The Communion residency returns to Milkboy March 3 with Stephen, Eryn Allen Kane, Misun, Axel Flóvent and Hemming. You may not be familiar with all the acts (yet), but it should be a fun night and $8 well spent for the chance to see.

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