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SHELLAC w/ Uzeda



  The 40 Watt  

Athens, GA

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Shellac is definitely one of my favorites. Their signature blend of post-punk with minimalist brutalism is what I enjoy. I like music that is violent, progressive, and ultimately realistic. That is what Shellac is to me. I attended this show with a friend of mine, who probably hasn't been out in about 4 years. It was fairly important to him to attend.

With that said, Shellac did not let down. They played material from all three of their LPs, as well as some of the infamous singles released before At Action Park. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and would recommend fans of significant music to check them out, during the next decade when they decide to tour again.

Opening was the Sicilian band Uzeda. Usually fronted by singer Giovanna Cacciola (also of Bellini), the math rock stalwarts blazed through a 35 minute instrumental set. I honestly was not familiar with the band's body of work, primarily because of the singer's ultimately shrill voice that is hard to take without a grain of salt. Howver, tonight was an interesting twist: leaving the singer out. I understand that perhaps the angle of the music is affected (particularly regarding the vocals), but this seemed to make the music more appealing to me, and I welcomed the change. The band does not plan to drop the singer, so this was an unusual affair. The style I would say is a sharper, syncopated version of Shellac. It is definitely more full sounding, as Shellac is more of an angular affair: round vs. sharp you could say.

I would now like to make a note. Shellac is known for putting on shows or concerts that are a little different. The first time I saw them was at Chase Transudations Recording Studio in Athens Georgia during a Shellac / Shannon Wright/ Whiffleball Tournament. This is about a year after drummer Todd Trainer threw his back out (apparently at a show in Charlotte North Carolina: I wouldn't have wanted to be there for that!) What happened to the original show, scheduled about a year before the first show I saw, was that about 50 people stood outside in the rain, waiting for Shellac to play. The show was to start about 5 in the afternoon, so people had been there all day for the Whiffleball thing. When it came time for Shellac to play, it started to rain. I remember waiting there pathetically in the rain, with a couple of buddies of mine who had driven a 2 hours. It was then announced that Shellac had canceled, and there were no immediate plans for a make up show right now. There was not really any other explanation other than that.

So, we weren't bitter, or angry. We were a little wet. It only added to the mysticism of the band. We did get to see inside the illustrious Chase Park Transudations Recording Studio. We grabbed a bite in Athens, and split our separate ways. It was memorable, and kind of exciting, but ultimately not a lot of fun.

This could be a metaphor of how I feel about the band. I feel that Shellac more or less ruined music for me. When I was in college, I always had teachers tell us, as Media Arts Students, you will now dissect film and music. Therefore, you will never be able to truly enjoy music and film like you did before. I liken this to when I first heard Shellac. It was brutal. The adherence to analog recording techniques only added to the package, and I immediately associated it with all things artistic. I often liken it to the 1970's movement towards more realistic film in still image photography. People really didn't like the results. People prefer Fujifilm Velvia, for vibrant and hyper-realistic colors. It's just like music to me. Most people prefer glossed, highly over produced entertainment. I suppose Shellac is music for critics and historians. I hope they see this as a compliment.

So, the show right? It was great. There was a little bit of what my buddy called "jerking off on stage", probably consisting of music from the album that the band only sent out to all of their friends. There was the song about birds and planes and fire, and Todd Trainer was hilarious. That is one of the most repressed drummers on the market. I've never seen a drummer that has to get up and talk to the audience more. The band is a heavenly blend of good manners and strong artistic ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed their personality, and their music. It was also apparent that the band adjusts some lyrics depending on where they're playing. We are in the Bible Belt, so we are fair game for comments to that effect. It gave me a warm feeling inside.

Overall, Shellac was what I expected. It was great seeing them in an actual club in more of a controlled environment, as opposed to a Whiffleball field, which can be controlled to a degree, I suppose. The sound at The 40 Watt was great, as it has been whenever I've been there. I felt it could have been a little louder, but that's because I'm going deaf. This is in no way a reflection of my judgment of their music. It is simply a matter of fact. And for that, I do have to thank Shellac.

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