[ATTENDED: June 16, 2016] The Shelters
The Shelters opened for Guster. I hadn’t heard of them before going to the show, so I really didn’t know what to expect from the band. Sarah and I arrived as they were going on, so by the time we got situated we probably missed two or three songs.
The band paints an interesting visual picture. On the left side is guitarist Chase Simpson. He’s got long hair and plays interestingly shaped guitars. In the middle is guitarist Josh Jove who has slicked back hair and tends to walk to the front of the stage to solo. On the bass is Jacob Pillot (also slicked back hair) who sort of hangs back but keeps a great rhythm. And then in the back is drummer Sebastian Harris with long hair (looking a bit like Kurt Cobain) who pounds the hell out of the drums.
Walking into the venue, I’m not sure what song they were playing but it struck me as sounding very L.A. rock (I don’t really know what that means, but I guessed it reminded me of some of the hard rock/metal bands from the 89s/90s). The song was good and the band was solid, it just didn’t blow me away. They played another song (both of these were sung by Jove, I believe) that was similarly rocking and enjoyable.
Then they played “Fortune Teller.” Simpson sang this one and the whole tenor of the band changed. The song was a bit trippier (whereas Jove has a rocker voice, Simpson has an almost folkie voice). I loved the song immediately. And every song after that was really great too.
There were a couple of songs where Simpson and Jove sang lead together and their harmonies were very early-Beatles (when John and Paul sang close harmony at the same time) and it worked perfectly. Their guitar sound was kind of sixties jangly but also very clean.
And it was during one of these that I realized what a great guitarist Jove is. He plays solos with ease and really shreds. He also has a sharp, clean guitar sound that really rang out in the venue.
“Liar” had simple but catchy lyrics and again, their harmonies and delivery were great–a total sing along song.
The biggest change in tempo came from “The Ghost is Gone.” Sarah said it sounded like The Doors and it totally did–a slow song with Jove’s quietly sung lyrics. The song propels along mostly on the strength of Pillot’s bass. And then after a verse or two the band lets loose with a super loud chorus–Jove’s guitar rang out and then Simpson’s guitar was even louder (as he pogoed by the drums). The contrast was great and I was totally into the song. They did the quiet loud thing a few more times and each time was more fun than the last.
There were so many familiar elements to the band’s and yet I would never say they sound specifically like anyone. There’s elements of Beatles, sure, for some reason The Smithereens pop in to my head, I even get a bit of a Social Distortion vibe. I hear elements of Sloan, too. But there’s a folky element and Jove’s really scorching guitar solos that mix it all together so nicely.
After playing their single “Rebel Heart,” they played a really long jam of a Yardbirds song called “Lost Woman.” I didn’t know the song. I listened to the original today and wound up loving The Shelter’s version much more. They made it punchier and louder–the bass was especially great in their version. And then they did what I thought was a really ballsy thing. They ended the song, paused long enough for us to assume it was over and then picked it up again in a really fast jam–solos galore and that great bass and drum. And then, when the song should have ended for sure, they threw in a final coda. It was fun and a good sign that the band is feeling comfortable up there.
They were a great opening band and I would absolutely enjoy seeing them again.
See the interestingly shaped guitars to the right (a little blurry, sadly).
Never Look Behind Ya
- Really Wanted You
The Ghost is Gone
- Lost Woman (Yardbirds cover)