Photos by Devon Bristol Shaw.
The Shush Series at Drexler’s is back at it and this week I’ve got the feels. I’m an observer by nature–I can’t help but watch, listen and experience my surroundings on varying degrees of coherence when it comes to live music. Sometimes, I become so enthralled with a band’s stage presence while shooting, that I actually even tune out the music without meaning to. I know, crazy, right? I’ve had band’s ask me after a soundcheck how they’ve sounded, and yet I’ve had difficulty answering them as I slowly attempt to mentally dig through the categorized layers that I’ve just subconsciously archived away, not knowing how to answer a simple yes or no question of “did we sound good?”
I need time to process and evaluate the moment, I need to be able to let the spider web of thoughts in my mind connect from one moment to another. As a photographer, despite being completely in the present, I often can’t even begin to write an article without seeing or experiencing the processed film first, so much so, that I often have difficulty articulating my experiences right off the bat, as it’s not until I’ve fully consumed all aspects of a show, that I can then truly gain perspective.
That’s what both bands, Animal Show and Psychic Selves are like. They must be digested in individual increments like that of a five course meal. They must be consumed live and raw, as they are not only palatable on an auditory level but also a visual sense as well. Their names both offer a self-referential awareness, but also a clued in keenness of their enthusiasm for their own musicality in which they are both simultaneously trying to express.
While front woman, Reiley and her fellow Animal Show bandmates stay true to their punk roots with a sound indicative of The Velvet Underground’s Nico mixed in with bit of Joan Jett and a splash of ‘fucking rad,’ these bands are not meant to just be heard but also seen and experienced live. She even penned a song about surfing, despite never even having been. I don’t know about you, but I feel like anyone can write a song about what they know, but isn’t it more punk to write a song (and sing it with conviction) about what you actually want to know?
Thus, it was with Psychic Selves’ ‘post punk for night surfers’ that effectively brought an effortless crescendo to the night’s amped up chapter. By sharing some of their newer songs, they definitely made myself think, “this is what good music sounds like” and I’m not even being a little bit biased. Especially since lead singer, Pepto’s visual appeal and undeniable talents force you to evaluate what decade it might currently be or whether or not the past has once again returned to greet our modern ears with spruced up with both melodies and soothing lyrics alike, evocative of a more rock and roll, psychedelic past complete with a punk edge in which you can’t look away from.
While I’ve had the chance to shoot both of these bands before, I feel as though I can never keep my eyes off of them during any of their “all out” performances. Forever the entertainers, they continue to endlessly surprise me. And as cliché as it sounds, they will always leave me wanting more.
Coming up next up in the Tuesday series will be locals Dougie Poole and Casey Hopkins Trio. At Five foot three, sometimes I accidentally crop out a head or two. Nonetheless, the footwear of Animal Show