Thursday, September 20, 2012

Psychedelia Reincarnated:

Though they may have little to do with the Hindu deity (or anything Hindu, for that matter), the Shivas ride the wave of new psychedelia with grace, rhythm, and trippiness.
Psychedelia Reincarnated
The Shivas at Burt's / Show Review
September 20
by Nathan Bickley
Psychedelia Reincarnated
The Shivas at Burt's Tiki Lounge / Show Review
Performed Sep.15
Words By Nathan Bickley
As I biked up to the front door of Burt's in downtown Albuquerque, a lively version of Link Wray's reverb-drenched classic, Rumble, was pouring into the streets. This could only mean that Portland psych-rockers the Shivas had already begun, and I had foolishly misjudged the order of the lineup for the night. Rumble was just a tease however, and the band interrupted themselves to tear into a half-dozen song set of their own particular brand of twangy, surf-psych rock.

The audience was lacking (about ten people were actually watching), and the bill was totally mismatched (a prog group opened and a metal band was set to headline), but the young Shivas played with energy and intensity. Tight, affected guitars washed over the audience, while the running bass lines and upbeat held it all together with surprisingly dance-y grooves. At Burt's only the vocals and kick drum are mic'd through the house PA, essentially leaving the “mixing” up to the band. The Shivas did a top-notch job keeping their amp levels even with the drums, but it was well worth walking around the semi-circular stage to find the best sound in the room.

I didn't know much about the Shivas before the show, other than watching a music video of their somewhat recent single “Gun in My Pocket”, but the band is peripherally associated with the younger psych-rock scene, which includes the likes of Night Beats, the Black Angels, the Growlers and Ringo Deathstarr. Bands of this genre follow in the footsteps of earlier influential groups such as the Velvet Underground, the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Fans of the genre should definitely check out the Shivas. They are on the pop-ier side of that spectrum, but still offer plenty of dirty noise and strong, occasionally dreamy vocals.

The band finished strong with their best song of the night, “Look So Good, Be So Good”, which boasts a killer psych riff and great energy dynamics. After the show I chatted with the two guitarists, and they couldn't have been nicer. Even though the show's circumstances were far from ideal, the guys were enthusiastic and appreciative for everyone that made it out. More than a few people I know went to Burt's specifically to catch the Shivas and ended up missing their surprisingly early set, which was unfortunate. As the headlining band was setting up, I took note of their Mini Cooper-sized drum kit, matching vests and terrible haircuts before I decided to duck out early rather than see what all that would translate to sonically.

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There are a few dates left on the Shivas' summer tour, so check and see if they're coming to your town! And while you're at it, buy a t-shirt or something.
Posted september 20, 2012


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