by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel
March 17, 2010

March 12, 2010
The Bourbon
Vancouver, B.C

After seeing The Shrugs play once late last year, I’d been hoping to catch them again but never worked out the opportunity until last Friday.  I’d been informed that they’d be opening for Macula for their tour kick-off at The Bourbon.  Upon hearing them the night before on CITR’s late evening program, I was intrigued.

At once, Caitlin’s voice grabs the listener and makes one wonder why these soulful pipes haven’t been heard everywhere by everyone. Giving Bif Naked a run for her money (and lengthy one at that) while surely receiving nods of approval from Janis Joplin’s grave, her cries—though truly her own—rival any gal’s that I’ve heard in quite some time.

Despite the odd bit of clipping, Stephanie’s bass line walked on through especially nice a couple of songs in, displaying an innate ability to lead the groovy underbelly rather than follow it.  Johnas, the six-stringed cowboy sporting a “Police Line Do Not Cross” guitar strap, played a rowdy rhythm with an even meaner lead.  While his overconfident playing of extended solos and behind-the-head scaling was a slight distraction—he offered some spice to the mix.  His mellow, arpeggiated intro heard on “Plasma” was perfectly subtle yet remarkable.

“Acid Zebra,” a spooky gem full of suspense, was heard moments before not only the set’s pinnacle (folk-inspired) offering, but the entire evening’s.  A yet-to-be-titled track heard Caitlin’s voice soar as she sang the chilling words, “Don’t bring me down / just let me through” over a punchy, rockabilly-esque rhythm section where both Stephanie and Johnas’ guitars fed fantastically from each other.  Being the tom drum junkie that I am, Greg brought it all home right to my liking on the set’s closer.

It’s too bad The Bourbon wasn’t nearly as full as it should have been for them as it was later for Gemini Side and Macula.  I have yet to include only my take on an opening act (or even simply one act), though today I’m simply giving credit where it’s due.  I’ll forever hold my peace on the quality and originality (or complete lack thereof) of the second act.  The latter group certainly had its merits for their overall stage presence and sound: an intriguing frontman sporting a beard, a t-shirt that read “Capitalist,” a belt buckle that read “Jesus,” and his Tool or perhaps even RATM influenced crew.  They exceeded my low expectations for a Bourbon weekend headliner but they’d be better reviewed by someone who could get into it more.  Well, this time anyway.  As far as The Shrugs—don’t let their apathetic band name fool you.  They are undeserving of any “meh” type sentiment.  Keep your ears alert as they prepare to set free their forthcoming EP this spring.

…Weasel Was Here

Visit The Shrugs online:

Hear The Shrugs perform live on CITR (aprox 3/4 of the way through the track) here

Capital Productions interview with The Shrugs


4 Responses to “Renegade Rock Review Vol. 20: The Shrugs”

  1. i heard this band for the first time at that bourbon show and i was pretty blown away, they’re good. its a shame there wasn’t a huge crowd…

  2. Fuck work Greg!!! You guys will make it far, you guys play super well together. I am so glad that I got to see you guys live, and hopefully more times to come. Maybe somehow arrange a show that is close to my birthday and I hope to get over there. I would love that! :) I hope that to get over there soon. You guys rock and keep on rocking.
    Love and laughter, Kendra and Corey

  3. i know them i know them! love you guys!

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