Habibi with Rudy de Anda at Barboza
March 6, 2020
Words by Aarin Wright, Photos by Marcus Shriver
With viral outbreaks, presidential primaries and overwhelming anxiety dominating the daily consciousness, communal desire for retreat to “anywhere but here” was impossible to ignore on Friday, March 6. Luckily for the basement patrons of Barboza, Habibi served up summer-warm doses of escapism via psychedelic dream rock.
Stepping out of the pages of a 1960s western magazine, Habibi founders Rahill Jamalifard and Lenaya Lynch kickstarted the evening with “Detroit Baby,” an homage to their shared hometown. Languid vocals coupled with beachy guitars washed over the crowd, who quickly advanced to soak up each ray.
A utopian evening of comfortable banter, gentle teasing and compliments to the general Seattle population’s attractiveness followed. In the seven years since Habibi’s last visit to the Pacific Northwest they’ve released two psych’n’surf-tinged records, 2014’s Habibi and this year’s Anywhere But Here. The evening’s set-list pulled heavily from both, with Farsi-sung covers of Randy Alvey and The Green Fuz and The Savages sprinkled in.
“This song is about a cowboy,” Jamalifard mistakenly announced before “Bad News,” called out immediately by her bandmates. By the launch of the true gaucho tribute, “Angel Eyes,” the whole crowd was in on the joke, swaying harder than before to love notes of Lee Van Cleef’s honey-colored irides.
Long Beach, California’s Rudy de Anda delivered the best surprise possible of an opening act, capturing the attention of early arrivals with an infectious genre-melding sound of psych, punk and soul. A charismatic frontman, he crooned emotional bilingual lyrics directly to the audience, while also stepping aside at key moments to allow his talented band to showcase their mastery. Costume changes were included. Get this man a 55S mic and add his name to the top of all “ones to watch” lists.
Closing out the party, Habibi returned to their heaviest, and earliest, song ever written. “Come My Habibi” locked the crowd in a final trance, one last moment of sonic relief before re-entering the upstairs world. With the final harmonic line and kick of the bass drum, nothing remained but hope for more.
Check out lots more of Marcus’s photos from this show in this handy album on our Flickr page.
- “Detroit Baby” – Habibi
- “Hate Everyone but You” – Anywhere But Here
- “Bad News” – Anywhere But Here
- “Angel Eyes” – Anywhere But Here
- “Tomboy” – Habibi
- “Misunderstood” – Anywhere But Here
- “Sweetest Talk” – Habibi
- “Let Me In” – Habibi
- “Green Fuz” – Cover of Randy Alvey and The Green Fuz
- “Born Too Late” – Anywhere But Here
- “Stronghold” – Anywhere But Here
- “The World Ain’t Round, It’s Square” – The Savages
- “Siin” – Habibi
- “I Got The Moves” – Habibi
- “Come My Habibi” – Anywhere But Here