Before MTV was doomed to reality and dating TV, retro-rockers like The Vines, The Hives and The Strokes were breaking onto the scene in the early years of the new millennium, staving off the inevitable with iconic showmanship, shaggy mops of hair and loud, reverb-soaked guitars. Modeled heavily after those revivalists, Las Vegas locals The Astaires could have easily fit into that era. From mod to punk, the four-piece’s grungy, distorted swagger packs the British nostalgia on heavy.
“I grew up with everything very ’60s,” says singer Cromm Fallon, explaining his designer-mod aesthetic and throwback sound. “My dad was in a psychedelic-rock band in the ’80s called The Steppes, so I basically grew up with all that.”
On Monday night, The Astaires opened for Joel Gion & The Primary Colours to a tiny Beauty Bar crowd but played their cacophonous blend of garage, psychedelic and surf as if the show was filled to the brim. Dressed in a black turtleneck, denim jacket and a leather newsboy cap, Fallon writhed onstage like a beatnik on acid, his feet dancing in circles while he jammed on his guitar. At one point he even pulled out a 12-string. Despite the turnout, opening for Gion, tambourinist for The Brian Jonestown Massacre, made perfect sense—Fallon, who just turned 21, notes BJM, The Jam and The Kinks as major influences—and he looked as if he’d been uprooted straight from Carnaby Street.
“I hate going to a show and you see somebody wearing shorts while playing,” Fallon says. “That’s got to be the biggest insult to someone paying money to go to a show.”
The Astaires—whose current lineup coalesced last fall—are part of local music collective Brain Jelly Music, and will perform as part of a May 30 Hard Hat Lounge showcase alongside Brain Jelly mates Wax Pig Melting, The Solid Suns, Strange Mistress and more. “All these bands are sick of not getting paid, so that’s the real goal of Brain Jelly—to make sure the bands get what they deserve,” Fallon says.
Though Fallon and guitarist Dakota McCullough are currently enrolled in college, the group is working toward releasing an EP in late May, with a possible tour to follow. “I’m gonna have lots of free time on my hands” come summertime, Fallon says. In the meantime, the locals have five Vegas shows booked for May, plus June and July gigs in LA and Denver.