‘Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!!’ shouted a guy in the crowd after Shadow Shadow Shade’s performance at the Satellite on Monday night, he could not stop saying the adjective, blown away by the experience.
I had seen them once, and was effectively truly impressed by their grandiose sound larger than the place, mixing Claire McKeown’s operatic vocals with rocking riffs over unison harmonies reaching the sky. This was obviously a band not afraid of grand statements and dramatic soaring choruses, and I loved it!
The septet (although they were only 6 on stage on Monday night), which consists of four members of the band Irving, Brian Canning, Steven Scott, Aaron Burrows and Brent Turner, multi-instrumentalist Sam Johnson, singer Claire McKeown and guitarist-bassist Tom Biller, took the stage after setting up a lot of equipment, organs, guitars and drums and did not disappoint the crowd with songs from their self-titled EP of 9 songs and new ones (at least for me), which were following the same uplifting-dramatic vibe with a more or less bombastic effect.
There is a lot of going on during a Shadow Shadow Shade’s show, but, come on, if Arcade Fire (I know, easy comparison, but relevant in this case) can become so big, there is no reason this LA band does not achieve the same level of stardom with their collection of anthems like ‘Your Perfect Wilderness’, ‘Is This A Tempest In The Shape Of A Bell’, or ‘Say Yes’ (a song which even inspired a new sticker to Shepard Fairey when the band was still called Afternoons).
They played in a very dark-red lightning, with a setlist on the floor that did not make sense for me, as it was obviously not their song titles but sentences like ‘Stay I know who, I wave goobye, I see what you mean, I’m uncomfortable, I tried it once, I know what you feel',… deconstructing a bit ‘Is this a Tempest in the shape of a bell’, and blowing the roof of the Satellite many times.
Sure, Claire McKeown’s voice is probably the most original part of their music, but all their songs have a distinct life, original and unconventional, evoking that famous indie band previously cited, to Pink Floyd covered by Queens, to a soaring chaos with vocal harmonies from an Ennio Morricone’s composition.
Their last song, that I did not know, sounded totally epic, theatrical with its outbursts and slow-downs, a torturous road oscillating between a pop song and a lyrical dance they wanted us to dance on tiptoe.
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