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Live Review & Photos: The Shelters At The Starline, Oakland, CA

shelters-2-2The weather and traffic battled it out for which would be worse last Thursday evening during my drive to Oakland, CA. The traffic won. Luckily I gave myself enough time to arrive, grab a bite to eat, and catch the start of the show. The Starline Social Club is a historic building dating back to 1893. Once a ballroom, it now houses a restaurant and bar downstairs, and an ample sized room upstairs. Complete with original wood floors, booth seating, another bar, and tin ceiling tiles, the vintage room was a perfect setting for the music on tap. The Shelters, an up and coming band from Los Angeles, generously turned this gig into a benefit show. It was aimed at helping the victims of the Ghost Ship fire that happened just the week before in Oakland.  To open the show for them, they selected the Los Angeles band, Shadow the Wild, and the local S.F. band, Hot Flash Heat Wave. Each band had only a short time to show the light crowd what they had.

Shadow the Wild started it off with their take on SoCal Rock and Roll. With hints of the vintage sounds from the ’60s and elsewhere, coupled with well constructed melodies and lyrics, they treated us to a seven-song set, some from their debut EP and more from their upcoming album. It was over much too quickly and left the crowd wanting a few more, but time pressed on and so did the show. Hot Flash Heat Wave, the next band, is a young group of guys with a surprise up their sleeve. One look might have told you they’re possibly grunge or maybe hardcore metal, but they played a style evoking memories of nostalgia, prom dances, hanging at the beach and surfing. It was a cool set from the guys and a perfect fit for this night. Their set was mostly from a yet to be released album, adding their last song from their debut EP.

Next up was headliners, The Shelters, who are coming off the rewarding Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement tour with Night Riots and The Hunna, where they played 19 of the 22 dates. Having played a show in Portland and another in Los Angeles just the day before, they headed back up north to Oakland for one more. The guys are riding a wave of success from touring with their first full-length, self-titled album. “Rebel Heart”, their lead single, is also fairing well, racking up nearly 95,000 views on YouTube for the video alone. They showed off their polished playing at the small club after honing their skills on the long tour. The crowd got to their feet after Josh Jove (vocals, guitar) encouraged everyone to move up closer. They did, and I think it energized The Shelters. From that point on the band kicked it in full force with their modern blend of guitar-based rock, vintage 60’s styling, and the raw energy of the ’70s. It’s no wonder that Tom Petty backed these guys by producing their album and allowing them to use his home studio. They have a great way of bringing the tunes to you, keeping them short and melodic, and always hinting at the thought that you’ve maybe heard this one before. I felt that way for their entire set. And now that have heard them, I’ll certainly be listening for more. You should too!

Surely Burn
Really Wanted You
Fortune Teller
Never Look Behind Ya
Dandelion Ridge
The Ghost Is Gone
Lost Woman (the Yardbirds cover)

 The Shelters are Chase Simpson (vocals, guitar), Josh Jove (vocals, guitar), Sebastian Harris (drums) and Jacob Pillot (bass).

Purchase a CD from The Shelters’ here and buy the band’s merchandise here. Visit their social media here and check upcoming show dates here.

The Oakland Ghost Fire victims relief fund continues here.

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Ken McCain

Photographer intern at Infectious Magazine
Worker at Costco by day, rockstar photographer by night.

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