Sometimes playing to a sold out show can be intimidating, but Shakey Graves certainly lived up to the expectation. Right upon walking into The Ready Room, the excitement for Shakey Graves is palpable in the room. While not as packed as one would think a sold out show would be, the audience immediately crowded up to the stage as Rose-Garcia came out onto the stage alone and after playfully interacting with the audience immediately went into his one man band version of “Roll the Bones”. Though not off his newest release, it was certainly a crowd pleaser, with the audience fervently stomping, clapping, and nodding perfectly in time with the music. With the end of the first song, the rest of the band came out and launched into their newest release “And the War Came”, but not before Rose-Garcia confirmed his love of St. Louis, and more specifically, the City Museum, which of course the crowd adored.
Describing Shakey Graves’s sound is a difficult thing to do. Rose-Garcia most obviously borrows elements from bluesy rock n’ roll and Americana, there are also notes of country, folk, and pop, which are most easily heard in the fuller, large band songs. The dynamics and interactions between the band mates make the show just that much more enjoyable. What many people think marks a true musician is the ability to make their live shows sound just like their studio version, Shakey Graves goes beyond that, his live sound even better than studio. Maybe it’s the excitement that comes along with going to see live music, but Alejandro Rose-Garcia really comes out of his element and excels at what he does.
Shakey Graves’s live performances of songs like “Only Son” and vaguely Elliott Smith inspired “Pansy Waltz” are immensely enjoyable, especially with the entire room singing along with just a hint of resentment “you should have been a better friend of mine”. However, where Rose-Garcia truly shines and is in his element is when he has the stage to himself with songs like “If Not For You” and “Roll the Bones”. Impressively playing the guitar, kick drums, and singing at the same time, Rose-Garcia is a true artist. While his guitar skills are put on display with the rest of the band, one can more fully appreciate his intense fingerpicking skills when he’s out on his own.
With the rest of the band or not Shakey Graves puts on and extremely enjoyable show. To end the night, the band played a rousing version of “Dearly Departed” despite missing duet partner Esme Patterson. The lack of Patterson did nothing to hinder the song with the audience nearly perfectly filling in her parts of the song, making it a duet with the crowd. With such playful, lively spirits, a Shakey Graves show is one that is difficult to forget.
Check out his solo version of “Roll the Bones”