Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Tom Shaner Live at Lakeside, NYC 1/18/08

Tom Shaner has been playing weekends at Lakeside a lot lately, which is a great place for him. He writes subtle, catchy, generally upbeat and very smart Americana-inflected janglerock, sounding something like the Jayhawks without the melancholy or Steve Wynn in a breezy moment. With his old band Industrial Tepee he ventured into a lot of Southerwestern gothic, and there’s still plenty of that in his writing. His more upbeat songs generally have more focus than his slower, meandering stuff. He sings in a casual, conversational voice and gets great press: he needs this review like a hole in the head. But you should get to know him. Shaner was one of the many great mysteries in this city this evening, when hordes of people were willing to drop thirty bucks to see the latest poser du jour at the Gramercy or Webster Hall, while Shaner played to a midsize crowd, for free, in the back room at Lakeside. Some things just don’t make sense.

He and his backing trio opened with the bouncy Sister Satellite, dating from his Industrial Tepee days, lead guitarist Tom Clark taking a gorgeously clanging, tremolo-filled solo that was an omen of even better things to come. Shaner then did a couple of newer numbers set to a reggae beat. The drummer seemed unrehearsed, and obviously the one-drop is not his thing, but he was game, building to a tasty Jim White-style eighth-note crescendo, running all the way around the kit on the first of the two songs.

Gathered away from the stage were a gaggle of ex-sorority types, their lacrosse muscles gone to fat, eyeing Shaner like cats in a butcher shop. “You can’t be louder than the band, that’s rule number one,” Shaner gently admonished the crowd, but the posse of trendoids around the Ms. Pacman machine were oblivious as the band launched into the quietly swaying, countryish Industrial Tepee lament Rosalie. A lot of New York artists lately have been writing some pretty excoriating anti-trendoid songs, and the new one Shaner and band played tonight – perhaps titled She’s an Everyday Hipster – was subtler than most, quietly railing against the “parade of drama queens” surrounding some nameless indie rock diva.

On the fast, driving Waiting for You, Clark took the first of two blistering, spectacularly fast solos, the most potently adrenalizing display of musicianship we’ve seen all year. The band closed with Industrial Tepee’s big crowd-pleaser, Groove Queen, a ridiculously catchy, bluesy number that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Wallflowers’ first album (i.e. their really good one). That this guy isn’t a household name testifies to the sad state of the music business, not to mention what’s happened to the music scene here in recent years. At least the guys at Lakeside get it.

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January 19, 2008 - Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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