April 16, 2019 at Great Scott
In an interview last month for WRBB, original Habibi member and guitarist Lenny Lynch spoke to me about the band’s upcoming Boston show saying, “This should be a real treat. We’re all ready now to jump back in and play all over the place.” That excited energy certainly came through in Habibi’s exhilarating show last week at Allston’s legendary Great Scott. A feeling of nostalgia and genuine joy permeated their set, and I couldn’t help but smile through the whole thing. Between songs the ladies cracked some jokes, debated the setlist, and reminisced about their last performance in Boston a whole seven years ago when a drunk fan jumped on stage. Before I get too ahead of myself though, it must be noted that behind every great headliner should be an interesting opener. Luckily, we got one.
Before Habibi took the stage, the audience was treated to a set from Leggy, who are worth noting for their fiery riffs and infectious melodies. They describe themselves on Bandcamp as, “Cincinnati lush punk.” Leggy’s set simultaneously channeled the in-your-face attitude of punk and the ethereal effects of ear-piercing shoegaze. I hadn’t heard of Leggy prior to the show, but ever since I’ve had their track “Taffy” on repeat. After they set the tone, it was time for the main event.
In that same interview with Lynch, she informed me that the band’s new record was going to be amazing. When an artist says their new album is going to be great, I typically take it with a grain of salt, but I couldn’t help but believe in the power of Habibi. At the show they debuted a few of these new songs and, after hearing a hint of what is to come for myself, I can now absolutely stand by Lynch’s statement: Habibi’s forthcoming record will be amazing. Expanding upon the band’s blend of surf riffage, Detroit garage-rock thunder, and 60’s girl-group harmonies these new tracks’ melodies are still stuck in my head. This melding of styles from across the musical spectrum feels like a natural extension of the groups crate-digging ethos. It’s really no surprise these new songs are awesome; Habibi is a band that’s significantly grown since their last album six years ago.
Of course, Habibi also played all of the anthems off their 2013 self-titled debut. Tracks like “Detroit Baby,” “Siin,” and of course “I Got the Moves” got the crowd singing along and shimmying like a summer night beach party. It certainly made me forget we were at a dive bar on a Tuesday. They also played a few cuts off their latest EP, Cardamom Garden, which featured Farsi lyrics, and further showcased their eclecticism.
Ultimately, the show was wonderful, and I see it as the foreshadowing of something bigger on the precipice for Habibi. It’s clear the group is evolving into their next style-bending incarnation. Their comeback is imminent, and they have lots in store for old and news fans alike.