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Shadowclub | Hype and the Band

Hype and the Band

by Yusif Sayigh / Images by We-Are-Awesome / 23.11.2011

I dive through a glut of trendy yuppies to find my place at the bar as the band tests the sound. They start working some weird chromatic progressions that induce in me a mix of anticipation and anxiety. A feeling I often get when, joy of joys, it sounds like a band might actually rock and I’m afraid that they might not. This weird introduction diverts my attention from the (overpriced) drinks towards the band.

They kick into the first tune with feedback screaming.

Shadowclub’s music is all about sex appeal. Nearly every song is about waking up next to, or devouring some sexy morsel. There’s plenty of evidence. Almost immediately the couple standing next to me are making out like voracious animals and the urban-chic social climbers who stood at the front of the room, seemingly just to send texts, swap places with gorgeous women; boogieing like they’re at a really heavy Eddie Cochran show. A really heavy one.
Because when it comes to the live sound, these guys don’t fuck about. It’s true what they say about power-trios. Having only three members lets the band keep the music simple and strong like bourbon. They groove, stomp and sweat buzzing feedback blues-rock. Louis Roux’s bass riffing is as melodic as it is tight, rolling on Isaac Klawansky’s cowboy drum swagger.

Shadowclub

Nearly every song they play sounds like a hit single. There is something irresistibly catchy about vocals that run the same blues licks as the guitar. It’s that delta blues thing – R.L. Burnside, John Lee Hooker – full of attitude. Obviously not all their songs do this but their singles, ‘Guns and Money’ and ‘Good Morning Killer’, are all about that harmony.

To cite their influence as simply blues is ridiculous. There is a strong dose of contemporary rock n roll á la Queens of the Stone Age, the late Brit pop-punk of The Libertines and light-garage of The Hives. These are, of course, merely conjectures and their exact influences may be far more esoteric. Certainly Jacques Moolman’s voice reminds me of both Josh Homme (QOTSA) and Justin Hawkins (The Darkness). Moolman’s voice is excellent throughout the performance and shines especially on the album in ‘Lucy’ where his previous jazz experience comes to the forefront (in texture if not in style).

Shadowclub

Speaking of the album – though I know I shouldn’t, as this isn’t an album review – I’m disappointed by the lack of fuzz-bass and overall grit that they exude live. Another criticism is that while the band has excellent style and heaps of attitude they would do well to experiment outside of the bands/genre they emulate. Their delivery is precise and without fault but I’d be hard pressed to name them before one of the international bands mentioned above if I heard them on the radio. A backhanded insult I suppose. Would I pay as much money to see these guys live on a big rig as I would to see The Hives? Definitely.

As for the venue and the DJs, I have nothing against either of them. They are simply not my cup-of-vodka and so my opinions on them are fairly moot. Let’s just say I came solely for the band and my effort was handsomely rewarded.

*All images © We-Are-Awesome.

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RESPONSES (13)
  1. Menny Mephistis says:

    dude, why do you say that if the venue is not your cup of vodka, then your opinions are moot? do you think you’re only allowed to have an opinion if you like something?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Great review – an actual review. What was good, what was bad, reasons why – written down well. I look forward to more.

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  3. Yusif says:

    Not at all. I meant that if i’d had a strong opinion i would have stated it. I didn’t see the point of saying: “i don’t like house music ” or “the venue had walls and a roof; i appreciated the shelter it provided.”

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  4. cnut says:

    MM… you should learn to ‘read betwixt the lines’…

    Decent article… succinct, concise, objective, focussed and more imortantly no ‘Mahala-esque’ going off on subjective ‘look at me I’m a Roger Young clone’ tangents…

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  5. Jeff Goldblum says:

    Yeah, because subjective music writing is bad, right @cnut?

    I just gotta ask you, if you don’t like the “Mahala-esque” then why do you keep coming back to Mahala.

    PS: “-esque” is tag on that Roger Young frequently uses. Could @cnut be Roger Young trolling himself?

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  6. just saying says:

    The author drinks… Hmmm interesting

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  7. just saying says:

    Nice photos

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  8. Tommy says:

    @Yusif Disco, not House 🙂

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  9. Rafen says:

    Thank you Yusif for focusing on the music, and not the extraneous circumstances in which it occurs. Adam Haupt would be proud.

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  10. Yusif says:

    Heheh, sorry Tommy. I still associate Disco with roller-skates, flares, James Brown and John Travolta! My bad…

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  11. Tommy says:

    All good. Disco has evolved and is now playing after rock ‘n roll bands… Go figure

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  12. Ewald says:

    @Rafel

    The circumstances in which music occurs are never extraneous.

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  13. dudie says:

    good article

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