The Legendary Shackshakers are one of my favorite bands, so every time they come to town I start to get nervous and excitable a week in advance. In the days leading up to the show, everyone from my cubicle neighbor to the toll booth operator on the Skyway knows the whens, wheres, how muches of the show and an entire list of reasons why they should go. This time through was no different. I even guaranteed a great show on ninebullets.net. I was not wrong…
Due to the rarest of rare events here in Tampa (show starting on time) I missed each and every opening act and walked in just as the Shackshakers were finishing their first song.
The scene was familiar. Newbies to LSS standing up front. Veterans of Shaker shows standing out of range of snot rockets and the occasional pubic hair tossing, but with their hand covering the top of their cups just in case they underestimated J.D.’s snot launching and pube tossing prowess. The bean pole that is J.D. Wilkes preaching to the crowd with a fire and brimstone to rival any Penecostal preacher, sometimes using old-fashioned microphones or a harmonica, all with a frenzy that surprising everyone, rookie and vets alike. All being backed by his choir, featuring the ever popular David Lee (guitarist), Mark Robertson (bass) and the new guy on drums banging out a gothic-rockabilly-polka version of southern rock/punk.
They played the crowd favorites such as Agony Wagon, Blood on the Bluegrass, CB Song and Pinetree Boogie. However, this time through they also played a couple of new songs that, at least live, were a lot heavier than most previous material.
Look, have you ever tried to tell someone a really funny story and when you were finished they just looked at you, so you drop the “you had to be there” gimmick? That’s what trying to explain a Shackshaker show is like. You should have been there. An LSS show is part rock show, part circus side show and part tent revival and, for those lucky enough to witness them, they are never forgotten. This show was no different.
Next time, be there.
A few days prior to the LSS show the wife and I went down to Jannus to see Two Gallants open for Les Claypool. A pairing I found odd prior to the show only got odder when we showed up. Most of the crowd had obviously never heard of Two Gallants and really had no interest in getting to know them either, which really was a shame because the band kicked ass. I decided I was gonna look at this show as a study of how a shit crowd can turn a good show into an “ehhh” show. The Two Gallants put on a fantastic show but I had no passion for it because the crowd was totally unreceptive and crap. One thing is for sure though; I can not wait for Two Gallants to come to town by themselves.