Review+Photos by Ken McCain
August 31, 2017 | San Francisco, CA – Mark the date of August 31, 2017 as the day that The Independent in S.F. burned down. And the cause was listed as spontaneous combustion from the band on stage, The Shelters, exploding into a fireball of pure straight ahead Rock and Roll. The Southern California band returned to the Bay Area for a headlining show at the small club last Thursday night. They had recently been travelling in support of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on their California dates. The Shelters have been opening for large acts all across the country including The Killers, The Struts, The Wild Feathers, and Gary Clark Jr., as well as taking on festivals along the way. Prior to their recent run through The Golden State the months of June and July took them throughout Europe and the UK. So, to say these guys were ready to rock the house could undercut the fact that this young band is a well oiled machine.
To many local fans, the San Francisco band, The Ha (formerly Hopi Astronaut), got the call to open the show. This fun band delighted the crowd as they played their Beach Funk Americana- “music that celebrates the human condition and the garhering of friends. Music to party to.” And they brang the party.
A short change-over and tune-up set the stage for The Shelters. As the lights went down the guys stepped out and plugged in, opening with Dick Dale’s 1962 Surf Rock classic “Miserlou”. Those in the back of the room suddenly found themselves pushing forward and into those already in-the-know. These guys know how to start a show! Played loud and fast, “Miserlou” set a tone for the rest of the show, and let unsuspecting concert goers know just who The Shelters are. Their music is a blend of many genres from Surf to Classic to Rockabilly to Psychadelic, they are all that and a bag of chips! Call them retro-rock or whatever, they make rock current.
After their next song, the catchy “Birdwatching”, the band played a few cover tunes, Emitt Rhodes’ “Really Wanted You” and The Surfaris’ “So Get Out”. The second showing a bit more of their SoCal Surf Rock roots. Turning back to their own catalog they knocked out the next four with the fervor they began the set with. Songs of their own, seeming so familiar, and played without hesitation got the venue really jumping and got ovations after each. Especially good was the song “Gold”, a dreamy, reminiscent tune that pairs guitarist Chase Simpson’s faraway vocals with Josh Jove’s slick guitar stylings – always tasteful, never wasteful.
The next six songs started out with a cover of The Kinks’ “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ’bout That Girl” that they recorded for their debut EP album. A quick listen to the original will let you know they stayed true to the song, making it hard to decifer who’s song it really is. The next bunch, though, were all originals to the band. “Rebel Heart”, another catchy tune and probably one of their better known, elicited hoots and hollers from start to finish. Jove broke out the Rickenbacker guitar for that beautiful, unmistakable jangle it has for this one, and had the audience caught up the whole time. A few more tunes later they were nearly done with their over one hour set, but as a bonus they added in the Yardbirds’ 1966 tune “Lost Woman”. Going back once again they payed homage to their roots and gave their fans a great bookend to a killer show.
The Shelters have a short break between now and late September, but they head to New York next and tour the eastern and southern states through October. Don’t miss your chance to catch these guys when they come to your town. I can’t wait till they come back to the West Coast.
Miserlou (Dick Dale & The Deltones)
Really Wanted You (Emitt Rhodes cover)
So Get Out (The Surfaris)
Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ’bout That Girl (Ray Davies)
Never Look Behind Ya
The Ghost is Gone
Lost Woman (Yardbirds)
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