Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shanda and the Howlers at the Griffin May 13, 2015

This evening was the debut for this combo, featuring vocalist Shanda Cisneros (Shandaleers, guest vocalist with the Lucky Cheats), bassist Luke Metz (Lucky Cheats/Holy Smokes), guitarist Trevor Johnson, Keith Alcantara on drums and Micah Lapping-Carr on sax.  Self described as a soul revivalist band, they cover a variety of early r'n'r/r'n'b/rockabilly and soul styles that got the jam-packed crowd (I have never seen more people packed into the small band room at the Griffin before) dancin'n'screamin'n'shoutin'.

Shanda's powerful voice - she's a blues belter in the vein of 50's singers like Big Maybelle and Ruth Brown (they covered her "As Long As I'm Moving") - led the group through a number of covers as well as some classic-sounding originals. Every one of the members are pretty stellar on their instruments - Luke manages wild runs on his bass even while it is hung as low as Dee Dee's, Trevor got excellent tones from his old Harmony and Telecasters guitars, Micah's sax ran the gamut of 50's r'n'r yakety sax to soulful trumpet sounds and Keith's drumming is super solid and in the pocket and pretty damn amazing tonally - he really filled the room with his sound.

Most of the songs I was not familiar with, but they surprised some with the Raconteurs "Many Shades of Black" (though not that surprising considering that Shanda is a big Jack White fan, and it did not feel out of place at all), they pulled out the Coasters' wonderful "Down in Mexico" and James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy" as well as a soul ballad that reminded me of Otis Redding and a stompin' soul original for their closer.

There's a heckuva lot of talent on one stage with these cats'n'kitten, so check 'em out for your dose of solid early r'n'r/r'n'b and soul!