I have wanted to see a full show by The Shut Ups for a long time now, and, since they do not play out all that often, one must take the opportunities which present themselves. So, on a Friday after a long work week, The Minions headed out to The EARL for a night of music and chaos.
When we arrived shortly before 10:30, the first band was already performing. They were The Sundogs, and appear to be one of the legion of local roots rock acts. Their music was standard white boy blues, reminiscent of The Black Crowes, some of John Doe's solo music, or even a little bit of The Rolling Stones. They weren't bad at what they do, it is just that i see so much of this stuff that it takes a lot to impress me, and they did not impress me. Still, i have seen far worse opening bands. (At least they weren't Chicks on Speed!)
The next act was another newish local band called Paper Champions. This band was a standard four-piece act playing emo-ish rock music. Their reference points include The Pixies, Alkaline Trio, and some of the early Sharks and Minnows records. Not bad really, but then again not stunningly original. I would call them a competent but young band, and with their quality of playing i hope to see them develop their influences into something more unique and dynamic. In time, in time.
Once again The EARL was moving the show along rather quickly, as The Shut Ups went on at midnight. This 5 piece act walked out in pajamas and opened with a song that is just perfect for opening a show, a tune which features the harmonized chorus "Why do you listen to other bands?" And it went from there....
The Shut Ups feature a lead singer/pianist with scads of stage presence who goes by the name Don Condescending. Mr. Condescending really hams it up on stage, and the whole band dances around in their pajamas, creating a rather festive atmosphere. They are a lot of fun to see live. Their sound is an 80s new wave sound, heavy on the keyboards and with danceable rhythms. They really got the crowd going.
I enjoyed all of the tunes they did, but unfortunately don't know the names of these tunes. They did perform a lovely cover of the Peter Schilling hit Major Tom (Coming Home) that was faithful while still being somewhat unique. (I don't think Schilling really had any harmony singing in his original version.) That was a lot of fun.
Overall, i had a blast seeing The Shut Ups, and highly recommend them to anyone looking for a fun time. They really redeemed this night, which started somewhat blandly and then got slightly more interesting. A fun time was had.