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I was lucky enough to see Alejandro Rose-Garcia – a.k.a. Shakey Graves – twice in one week. This time, with his 2-piece band in tow, Rose-Garcia shook down Bodega for 90 minutes with his high-energy blend of blues-rock. It didn’t take long for pearls of sweat to drip off the Texas gentleman’s face, a testament to the energy he brought to the performance. Commencing the show solo – just like he did in the old days, Graves lathered the crowd with his distortion-heavy riffs while his trademark kick drum cut through the reverb. Each beat reverberated through one’s body, as Graves stomped out a metronome for the masses to rock out to.
Graves’ effortless banter, stories and sexual innuendos (although not always his doing) kept the crowd engaged between songs, often eliciting a hilarious back-and-forth with members of the audience. When someone called out requesting “City in a Bottle”, Rose Garcia happily obliged, diving into the story of the song’s origins, which involved meeting a friendly sex worker named “Quick Monique the Freak” on a New York subway.
Shakey’s 2014 studio album And the War Came featured heavily. Songs such as “Dearly Departed” and “The Perfect Parts” had onlookers stomping to the heavy rhythm and hanging off Rose-Garcia’s guttural howls. He threw back to some of his older material with crowd favourite “Roll the Bones” and then slowed it down for “Pansy Waltz”, where the softer side of music was on display.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what genre you’re listening to when Shakey Graves plays. It is a mixture of old-fashion rock ‘n roll, blues, folk, and country, and played often in odd time signatures. The combination, however, works damn well and makes you want to head bang and sway all at the same time. Even though Bodega is notoriously steamy, the intimacy of the venue made for a special show that I’m sure the people in attendance won’t be forgetting any time soon. Come back soon Shakey!
Photos are by Jasper Rain.
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