Live Review: Shakey Graves – Brooklyn Steel, NYC

Shakey Graves has made his way into the indie folk rock spotlight with his unashamed stage presence and dominant vocals. This Austin Texan brings one hundred percent of his energy and soul on stage and sheds his soul through the microphone, captivating the room with electrifying emotion.

He began the night at Brooklyn Steel in NYC with a stripped back yet animated version of Only Son from his 2014 album And The War Came. He attracted everyone’s attention with fierce rhythm and effortless vocal range. The second song of the set was Foot Of Your Bed – track 12 on his recent release Can’t Wake Upfollowed by Big Bad Wolf – track 10. Hearing these songs live and in a different order helped me understand the album more and appreciate it as much as we all raved over And The War Came. Can’t Wake Up is definitely a record that needs a few playbacks to fully get into but a great way to further appreciate and connect with this music is seeing his live act.

After a powerful rendition of House Of Winston, he treated the crowd to one of their favorites and pumped out a sensational version of Pansy Waltz. This rendition was particularly special because of its tempo speed which was performed faster than recorded on the record. Shakey’s grasp of dynamics and his ability to mix up the styles of his songs proves his musicianship at rock star status.

The rocking energy continued with two new tracks – Dining Alone and Excuses, before the momentum was set in full blast with The Perfect Parts. Many artists today only focus on their latest material as the bulk of their live act but Shakey Graves mixed in a lot of older songs, which helped keep the excitement level high throughout the concert.

An electrifying Climb On The Cross set up a good chance for the audience to catch their breath for a few minutes with the relaxed tempo and vibes of Family And Genus. The beat fired on with a segue of three new rocking songs Kids These Days, Counting Sheep and Mansion Door. For the next four songs, Shakey played solo, which is always an exciting part of the show. After a raging version of Tomorrow, the solo set continued on with a mix of old and even older songs: Word of Mouth, Unlucky Skin and Roll The Bones. It’s hard to keep track of exactly what number album Shakey Graves is up to since he has a lot of deep tracks in his vault that were released independently. These are the songs that stick out the most because the are continued works in progress that find new ways to prove their relevance once in a while when Shakey decides to pull them out of his hat.

The encore song was Cops And Robbers – another new song that contains the upbeat, positivity that Shakey’s edgy, indie rock sound is built on. Dearly Departed was the very final song of the night which continued the loud, boisterous energy that rang for several hours within the walls of Brooklyn Steel one week ago in NYC. This new set of music keeps Shakey’s songwriting and full band sound a must see act.

Scott J. Herman