Why do most people have such discontent with music like Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson that never stray from a basic formula of love, having a peaceful good time, togetherness, flip-flops, pineapples, doing good things in this world, and just sitting in a circle of friends on the beach playing guitar and sipping on rum? What is to not like about it? Do positive vibes scratch at these people’s very core? What is it about this music that when these people hear it they say something like, “This music is for liberal fags! That’s right, this music is for fags, vegans, and Matthew McConaughey! AH! Why don’t they go butt bang on some island instead of making me question my silly backwards thinking beliefs, move out of my house of cards, save the gulf, and just dance and love something!” HA! My point is there is something wrong with you if you don’t like this kind of music; my recommendation is to go to an ALO show with an open mind so you can take what you’re about to experience all in. Take this almost religious/spiritual experience in and call me in the morning.
I didn’t know what to expect at the ALO show, the smell of marijuana in the air and the sight of beer in the masses’ hands were familiar but something at the same time was very different. There was an atmosphere in the air that felt warm and inviting, there was a buzz all around of friendliness. Hugs and handshakes, there was no music at this point but still either a very, very large family decided to buy all the tickets to see ALO or strangers were uniting before my eyes. It was pure magic, maybe I died, I thought, and this was heaven because I have never felt a more powerful atmosphere among so many people together at once, it was unworldly. I decided to sit on the grass and take it all in.
I awake from my spiritual daze to a cheer from the crowd, I looked up and ALO was coming on the stage, I got up and made my way into the crowd. For the first two songs I just stood and watched the fans rock side to side with smiles on their faces as I watched ALO do the same, they didn’t need to jump up and down or jump on their fans to project their massive energy. By the third song I found myself doing the same, I almost felt like a fool but I didn’t care. I was on vacation for the first time in a long time, so long as a matter of fact, that I can’t remember the time before. My mind was standing still it wasn’t focused on the gulf, corrupt governments, endangered species, or equal rights in Arizona, I was just in the moment, I was in love. My moment of Zen continued during the song “BBQ”. I could smell the ocean, see the seagulls flying, all set to an acoustic background noise that was the sound of ALO. Half way through the set I found myself full-on dancing, clapping, and then putting my arms around my girlfriend and kissing the back of her head. I knew everything was going to be alright.
Anyway, I need to snap out of this love fest for a second. The meaning behind the name of ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) is quite simply a reference to when they play live they and the fans let their inner animal out but was that true? I did not see any beastly behavior, there were none of the usual signs: no one was puking on themselves, trampling over someone to get to the front of the stage or fighting for some drunken testosterone-filled reason. No, there is just nothing animalistic about this music or performance, all I saw were people enjoying themselves and letting go, there is just nothing crazed about songs like “Big Appetite” (a song about human greed). But ah yes there was a point where all the guys got tired of waiting in line to use the restroom and just decided to go pee on a fence together, I don’t know about you but I see unity there and there’s just nothing wild about it.
ALO played what seemed like a short set and left me a tad confused about what I had just experienced. It felt like those first few moments of coming to after a heavy trip. They played their last song and didn’t even say goodbye; they only put their hands up and waved. Leaving me almost changed, I felt very refreshed and moved by the talent and well-cultured music of ALO. ALO is doing something that only a handful of bands around the whole planet could pull off, offer music that is truly amazing and offer a live show that just might change your life.
ALO gets 5 “bongos” out of 5.
by Josh Davis