Chaplins, Cellar Bar

The Electric Shakes

Frantic Friday is the unusual but rather apt title for tonight’s gig down in the Cellar. Apt for this reviewer anyway – I have neglected to charge my camera so apologies for the lack of videos! Opening just shy of 10pm are local chaps Meat Sweats. Having only seen them once before at a Summer festival last year I am keen to see if they are as good as I first thought. Thankfully they are – and some! They open with the interestingly titled “Being Watched” and kinda set the scene for the whole set. Throbbing bass throughout from Kim, strong throaty vocals from Jim (vox/guitar), unfussy drumming from Paul and a shoegazey yet intricate performance from Steve (lead guitar). “Do It” does exactly what it says on the tin; despite the repetitive chorus, while “Psycho” takes the opening bars from the UK Subs “Lady Esquire”, before becoming a great song in its own right. They offer a strong, Post/Punk guitar-driven sound almost throughout, but never rely on just making a wall of sound. “Social Media” gives Jim a chance to frown while delivering a direct and in-yer-face performance while “Selfie” is introduced by Kim (bass) as a song written by his daughter. It’s a true storytelling ode to an all too familiar subject matter. Lyrically tongue in cheek and set to a clangy guitar sound yet remaining tight.

The Electric Shakes

Six songs in and we are treated to the first cover of the night, the Department S classic “Is Vic There” – affectionately dedicated to yours truly, along with a big hand for this very webpage! They don’t stray too far from the original but keep it unique enough to make it their own-replete with piss-taking banter aplenty! “Love” is simply a warm-up for a terrific and energetic “Boredom” (Buzzcocks) – delivered like a demo being battered around a studio, trying to find its feet. Penultimate song “Trump” was written before he came to power, so a slight lyric change has been made. I’m none the wiser as it’s a new song to me. They end a barnstorming set with The Stooges classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. Citing fans who have likened them to The Stooges they give it a fine rendition, leaving on a real high. This near full room give good applause as they leave the stage.

A quick turnaround sees The Electric Shakes set up their expansive amount of kit, before launching into opener “Test of Time”. I have to admit that last time I reviewed the band I felt they might need to change their style a little. And so tonight; we see a meaner, leaner Shakes displaying less “Garage” with more emphasis on the guitars. As Shakes songs go “Test of Time” is slower than most of their output and the perfect opener. However, they slowly build the momentum as the set just grows and grows. I’ve always described the band as being “Dirty RnR” so “Dirty” as a working title for their 2nd song seems somewhat apt! A brief trawl into their past sees a storming “Lightspeed Mother” take the tempo up somewhat before they delve into the bulk of new material recently recorded at a session to be included on their next album.

The Electric Shakes

“The 157” is the first of these songs and doesn’t disappoint. Again I must emphasize how the band have grown and somehow re-interpreted their sound. It’s somewhat cleaner and tighter all round. Eric’s bass still throbs throughout and “Basha” (drums) is as tight as ever, but it’s the overall sound that just exudes power. Where these song titles come from is anyone’s guess but one thing is prominent – the whole band appear more powerful and confident. “Rats” precedes the excellent and again apt “Keep It Wild”. The anthemic “Shot Me Down” is the set highlight – fast and anthemic in equal measure and they simply get faster and heavier. Two more numbers “Magpie” and “Blue Meanie” close the set and any lingering doubts that I might have had that these guys couldn’t step up quickly evaporate.

After the success of their debut (mini) album and the quite excellent “Stereotypical Girls” E.P. the future looks bright. With just the mixing and mastering to be completed on the new LP the release date canít be far away. The Electric Shakes haven’t sat on the laurels and waited for things to happen. They have spent the last 6 months honing a wider sound, and on tonight’s evidence it has been time well spent.

Lastly a word for tonight’s soundman who I congratulate for not deafening us. This is a small Cellar venue and he has pitched the sound just perfect-we salute you sir, earplugs (for once) were not required!

Meat Sweats
Being Watched
Do It
Social Media
Is Vic There (Department S cover)
Boredom (Buzzcocks cover)
I Wanna Be Your Dog (Stooges cover)

The Electric Shakes
Test of Time
Lightspeed Mother
The 157
Keep It Wild
In The Blood
Shot Me Down
Blue Meanie (Blotto)


Words by Ross A. Ferrone.

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