Photos and Review by Eric Pennell
Show photos HERE
theShift is a rock trio from New York City consisting of John Shannon (vocals and guitar), Ben Geis (bass guitar) and MJ Lambert (drums). Whenever they are in my literal neck-o-the-woods, I go see them. This makes it my third experience with theSHIFT and it was no less amazing. If you like heavy, guitar driven rock n’ roll, you need to check them out. But weaving in and out of those nasty guitar riffs and hammering baselines are lyrics that are thought provoking, evocative and poignant.
John, Ben and MJ all attended Berkley so if you were concerned about resumes… For more on their history and accomplishments I suggest you check out the BIO page on their website. These guys have serious skills and it really shows in their live performance.
I arrived while they we still setting up and it gave me a chance to reintroduce myself and get reacquainted. Both John and MJ’s wives are out on the tour as well and we all had a fantastic conversation before and throughout the show. They are all such down-to earth nice people and I felt like I was chatting with old friends. We started off talking about summer vacations and other “normal” daily life activities, which led into the story of their recent tour around Peru. Turns out their song “Dreams” had made it to #1 on rock radio down there and was ranked in the top 5 for the year with the likes of Coldplay and others. How exactly a copy of their album made it down there is still shrouded in mystery (which I think is kinda cool).
John and I delved deeper into the state of the music industry and its effects on both musicians and fans. We talked at length about how the lack of any real “scene” right now is making it very challenging for good bands to get noticed, draw in crowds for live shows, get signed and get fairly compensated for their art. Where is the next Seattle, or NYC? Will that sort of thing happen ever again, given the likes of Youtube, Spotify, SXSW, Glastonbury; where everything is gathered up by someone else and disseminated? You don’t have to go out anymore and discover what’s going on; walk down a noisy street and find yourself in crowded bar. Maybe turn to that random person next to you and say [yell], “Who is this band?! They’re fucking awesome!”
We both agreed that the digital age is a double-edged sword but that the only constant is change, so you better figure out how to make it work. If you fight it, like the major labels did back in the early days of digital (e.g. Napster), you will lose. theSHIFT is making it work. They just finished a record of reinterpreted songs by The Police, for Reimagine Music. They played their version of “Bring On The Night” and based on that incredible performance I recommend you give the record a listen when it comes out.
Still, Shannon thinks that the digital age and social media may be eroding some of the mystique of “rock stars”; where pictures of you eating breakfast cereal gets more ‘likes’ than articles about your next album and what you went through to create it. I tend to agree but again, it’s that two-sided, pointed, stabby thing. And while I couldn’t care less about seeing pictures of my favorite musicians washing their socks, the digital age and social media has allowed me to reach across hundreds of miles and connect with three amazing musicians, and their families, meet up in a hookah-bar, have fantastic conversations over several beers and watch them proceed to unload some serious adrenaline surging rock n roll.
So the next time you hear about ‘some’ band playing at ‘that’ place, instead of staying in and maybe checking out their song on Pandora, get out, meet some people and support live music. Cheers!
Check out more on their website www.theshiftofficial.com