Shakey Graves brings thumping kick drums and passionate vocals to D.C.’s 9:30 Club

Shakey Graves has come a long way from a one-man band with a suitcase kick drum and a guitar on the railroad revival tour with the likes of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford and Sons.

As his popularity has increased and he’s headlining his own tour, Shakey Graves is now backed by a full band with a familiar but different sound. When Alejandro Rose-Garcia, who plays under the stage name Shakey Graves, first tweeted about his new album which came out two weeks ago, he said referenced a new sound coming. Whether it was meant to be a joke or not, the new album has certainly gone in a new direction, but it has not abandoned its roots, instead building upon his older sound which made for a remarkable concert.

The opening act And The Kids put on an incredible display of energy and pure skill as they engrossed the sold out 9:30 Club crowd. The Massachusetts based band seemed to be new to most of the audience but from the whispers between acts it was clear they left quite the impression. The lead singer and guitarist Hannah Mohan, who had gotten stitches in her hand six days earlier, is as talented. In addition to her musical skills one of the biggest take-aways was her stage presence. Mohan danced around the stage egging on the audience to play along and her energy was impossible to ignore and set the stage for the rest of the show.

And The Kids

In between acts the absurdity began as stage hands wearing wrestling masks began to change the set over. The centerpiece of the Shakey Graves set was a collection of old televisions piled on top of each other which would broadcast hypnotic colors and figures throughout the performance. After the stage was set and the clock struck 9:30 one of the “stage hands” took off his mask and sweatshirt and the show began with an acoustic song with only Rose-Garcia and a guitar center stage.

The instrumentation is one of the most interesting parts of the Shakey Graves experience. As Rose-Garcia has expanded from a one-man show to a full band there has been several additions which have allowed for the development of a fuller sound. However, one of the most impressive aspects came when Rose-Garcia would use one pedal attached to a tambourine and another to a suitcase kickdrum and played those with both feet while strumming his guitar and singing. This call back to his early days as a one-man band was thoroughly entertained the crowd and made for a great sound.

The beauty of the Shakey Graves is that he is a true performer and as such the songs don’t sound the same as they do on studio albums making for an incredible experience. One of the most impressive songs was being the Perfect Parts from the album And the War Came. Between the thumping kick drum and the passionate vocals this song stood out as one that sounds even better live as you can feel the emotion that goes into the song every time its sung. Two more memorable songs were Family and Genus from And the War Came into Kids These Days from Can’t Wake Up which were blended together. Both songs allowed for awesome guitar riffs and mesmerizing instrumentation making them even more impressive live than they are on the studio albums. These songs showed the emphasis which Rose-Garcia puts on the live experience as he carefully blended the songs together and created a seamless transition.

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves

Rose-Garcia’s love for the live experience is aided by his incredible stage presence. He would interact with the audience as well as his band members throughout the performance which made the entire thing fun to watch. No matter if it were just him and his guitar doing early songs or the entire band doing their new work, the Shakey Graves put on an engaging and foot-stomping performance which left everybody wanting more.

Producing a studio album is no easy task, but creating a concert experience which feels distinct and fills the entire room with energy is even more difficult. This is certainly the draw for the Shakey Graves as you will not only hear some of your favorite songs, but also see a performer in his element which in many ways is even more special.

Gavin Derleth
Gavin currently goes to school in Washington D.C., studying Political Science and Geography. He enjoys coffee, biking, and spending way too much of his time listening to music.

Shakey Graves brings thumping kick drums and passionate vocals to D.C.’s 9:30 Club

Shakey Graves has come a long way from a one-man band with a suitcase kick drum and a guitar on the railroad revival tour with the likes of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford and Sons.

As his popularity has increased and he’s headlining his own tour, Shakey Graves is now backed by a full band with a familiar but different sound. When Alejandro Rose-Garcia, who plays under the stage name Shakey Graves, first tweeted about his new album which came out two weeks ago, he said referenced a new sound coming. Whether it was meant to be a joke or not, the new album has certainly gone in a new direction, but it has not abandoned its roots, instead building upon his older sound which made for a remarkable concert.

The opening act And The Kids put on an incredible display of energy and pure skill as they engrossed the sold out 9:30 Club crowd. The Massachusetts based band seemed to be new to most of the audience but from the whispers between acts it was clear they left quite the impression. The lead singer and guitarist Hannah Mohan, who had gotten stitches in her hand six days earlier, is as talented. In addition to her musical skills one of the biggest take-aways was her stage presence. Mohan danced around the stage egging on the audience to play along and her energy was impossible to ignore and set the stage for the rest of the show.

And The Kids

In between acts the absurdity began as stage hands wearing wrestling masks began to change the set over. The centerpiece of the Shakey Graves set was a collection of old televisions piled on top of each other which would broadcast hypnotic colors and figures throughout the performance. After the stage was set and the clock struck 9:30 one of the “stage hands” took off his mask and sweatshirt and the show began with an acoustic song with only Rose-Garcia and a guitar center stage.

The instrumentation is one of the most interesting parts of the Shakey Graves experience. As Rose-Garcia has expanded from a one-man show to a full band there has been several additions which have allowed for the development of a fuller sound. However, one of the most impressive aspects came when Rose-Garcia would use one pedal attached to a tambourine and another to a suitcase kickdrum and played those with both feet while strumming his guitar and singing. This call back to his early days as a one-man band was thoroughly entertained the crowd and made for a great sound.

The beauty of the Shakey Graves is that he is a true performer and as such the songs don’t sound the same as they do on studio albums making for an incredible experience. One of the most impressive songs was being the Perfect Parts from the album And the War Came. Between the thumping kick drum and the passionate vocals this song stood out as one that sounds even better live as you can feel the emotion that goes into the song every time its sung. Two more memorable songs were Family and Genus from And the War Came into Kids These Days from Can’t Wake Up which were blended together. Both songs allowed for awesome guitar riffs and mesmerizing instrumentation making them even more impressive live than they are on the studio albums. These songs showed the emphasis which Rose-Garcia puts on the live experience as he carefully blended the songs together and created a seamless transition.

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves

Rose-Garcia’s love for the live experience is aided by his incredible stage presence. He would interact with the audience as well as his band members throughout the performance which made the entire thing fun to watch. No matter if it were just him and his guitar doing early songs or the entire band doing their new work, the Shakey Graves put on an engaging and foot-stomping performance which left everybody wanting more.

Producing a studio album is no easy task, but creating a concert experience which feels distinct and fills the entire room with energy is even more difficult. This is certainly the draw for the Shakey Graves as you will not only hear some of your favorite songs, but also see a performer in his element which in many ways is even more special.

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