Every once in a while you find a local band and you wonder why everyone in your city isn’t at the venue with you, staring up in wonderment at what you’re sure is the coolest band around. The first time I saw ilash was way past midnight this past summer at the Knitting Factory and, to be honest, I’d had a few drinks. I left the show thinking I’d just seen the best band ever, but was willing to pass that off on the booze. Last night at CBGBs was my third time seeing ilash, but lead songwriter and front man Rory Guinness writes songs that are so indelible every song that started I was turning to my friend saying, ‘oh this one’s my favorite,’ then, ‘no this one’s the hit.’ Rory is a perfect front man, from his charmingly random Irish-accented between song banter to his Richard Hell meets Jonathan Richman spoken-sliding-emotive vocals, and is flanked by a guitar guru, Dileepan Ganesan, and Chris McMillen’s bass lines that bring the songs to the head-bobable level that makes them stick with you all night and wake up humming them the next morning.
The thing about ilash, beyond how much fun they are to watch, is that they’re writing better songs than almost any band in New York right now. Putting as much importance in having danceable music as delivering brilliantly witty lyrics, ilash’s songs are immediately memorable. The band have an EP that they hand out at their shows, and you can stream three of their songs at their site or the ever effective MySpace page but the recordings don’t do the band nearly enough justice. This is a band that you need to see and experience, and to be honest, the sooner you do so the better for you. They have no shows scheduled for the next couple of weeks, but if you live in New York and you know what’s good for you, keep an eye out for ilash.