Rabia Qazi lifts up the hem of her black lace dress and wipes her face with it.
“It’s hot in here,” the singer grins.
It’s true—Sonic Boom is packed. Folks are here to see Qazi’s band Rose Windows sway and rock out to the psych-infused ‘70s styled jams they recently brought forth on their Sub Pop debut, The Sun Dogs.
Band members from La Luz and The Maldives are in attendance, along with a mixed crowd of bald men, babies, and a couple very baked bros. One man with bloodshot eyes and board shorts appears suspiciously high. His face contorts into ecstasy each time the band launches into one of their melty cosmic codas.
Warm as it was, the record store wasn’t as hot as L.A. where the band spent last week starring as extras in a new Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, The Master) film. They’re keeping the whole experience pretty quiet since it’s still in production, but I’m told they pulled 12 hour days on the set.
“I talked to Paul Thomas Anderson,” says Richie Rekow, the band’s bassist and co-vocalist. “Well, actually, it wasn’t really talking. He mostly just told me what to do.”
Rekow has a tattoo of a wizard on his arm. Once, he took over as the group’s lead singer when Rabia was hospitalized on tour because of a bad hot dog she ate at South by Southwest. He seems a good guy—his nephews have come to the show and afterwards keep tugging at his shirt to sign their new records.
Kids, in fact, are here in large numbers. A little girl rides her father’s shoulders during the set, dad taking industrial grade ear muffs on and off depending if the song at hand is a Sabbath-styled screamer or a mellow summery folk number. This band is probably one of the few that can appeal to both metal heads and little kids.
Makes sense—their debut is populated with characters who wrestle with demons while spirit warriors are summoned from clandestine temples. Ripe fodder for both bedtime fairy tales and Norwegian black metal fans. And with production from Randall Dunn, frontman of local psych-drone outfit Master Musicians of Bukkake, tracks from The Sun Dogs veer from dark heavy riffage into pop gold without blinking an eye.
After the show, the line to buy the record slowly grows and snakes it way around the store. Fans dash from the register to the nearest band member they can find to get their album signed. Flautist (yes, they have one) Veronica Dye is putting her fur trimmed jacket on when a fan wielding a cassette tape flags her down.
“I have a question,” the fan says. “I got this cassette of yours at Sasquatch. Is there any way I can get the digital files or do I have to record them myself off of this thing?”
Dye scratches her head. “Uh, I don’t know. I think so?”
“You mean I have to digitize this myself?” the man says.
The flautist shrugs. She signs the man’s CD and waves goodbye.
“Man, we recorded that cassette so long ago,” Dye says after the encounter. “I barely remember if we have the files floating around.”
It was a mixed bag, all these kids, face-melting solos, and foggy memories. A small snapshot of the band, but perhaps you get the picture—it’s a rose colored one.
Check out video of the band performing “Wartime Lovers” here.