Shanda & The Howlers and Brian G Soul at the Bunkhouse, Saturday Feb 27, 2016
The Bunkhouse is now highlighting a lot of local talent and letting some great bands stretch out a bit on evenings such as these, where there were just two bands before a late evening of DJ music.
Opening was Brian G Soul, apparently a relative of Marvin Gaye (he introduced Marvin's sister in the audience), who gave a set of Gaye-like soul and blues, with covers of songs like Gaye's "Let's Get It On", "Stormy Monday", "Superstitious", "Let's Dance, Let's Shout", "Brick House" and more. The backing band was apparently a local casino band - very talented and very slick, with strong guitar playing, keys that would aptly cover the horn parts of the songs and a funky-but-white rhythm section. A little more polished than I usually go far, but plenty of expertise and Brian does have a fine soul voice.
Vegas' own soul-blues belter, Shanda and her Howlers were the main attraction of the night though and, as always, they put on a terrific performance. Shanda's raw'n'sultry voice leads the charge as Luke and Keith lay down the rhythms, Trevor adds some clever'n'tasty guitar licks and Micah blows some excellent sax. Tonight their set was a mix of originals and covers with numbers like the bouncin' opener "Keep Tellin' Me", the jumpin' R'n'B of "I'm Afraid", a kinda Ray Charles-esque call'n'answer, a slower Otis Redding-styled number, Huey Piano Smith's "Don't You Just Know It", James Brown's "If You Leave Me", "When You Walk" - a jump swing with cool key changes - a soul stomper and the wild closer "Shout!". Certainly one of the best bands in town and the place to go for 60's soul and r'n'b.