Photos by Miles Kron
By Elle Dickson, Staff Writer
Artist: Shakey Graves
When: Tuesday, November 14th
Shakey Graves has mastered live performance. His show at Roadrunner last week was artful, funny, personal and welcoming. From picking the perfect opener to knowing when his fans needed him, Shakey Graves should be on every folk lover’s must see list.
AN AMAZING BEGINNING
The first time I heard about Rayland Baxter was last year when WERS wrote a review of his song “Rubberband man.” Instantly, I became a fan. Seeing Baxter live confirmed my commitment to being a fan of his. From his incredible vocals to his laid-back stage presence, Baxter gave a show you could only capture in a stoner’s house show. Despite the chill vibes, he was still able to amp up the crowd, getting the crowd cheering through “Buckwheat.”
My favorite song he performed was “Billy Goat,” which saw him dancing around with his guitarist and riffing with fans. His performance felt like how live music is supposed to feel: exciting, personal and raw.
Baxter continues to show that life does not need to be rushed, through his music and especially through his performance. From bringing out a guest to making jokes with the crowd, Rayland Baxter is proving to be a name you will want to remember.
COMMUNITY & AUTHENTICITY
Coming out alone, Shakey set the tone for the night with a solo rendition of “Hard Wired.” He got the crowd moving, encouraging people to sing, dance and interact with the people around them. He created a community within the first minutes of being on stage, and I have not seen that done in a while.
Once his band came out on stage, it was clear everyone was ready to party. The group danced and joked around with everyone, calling out fans and holding back laughter. After a few songs, they introduced the night’s “theme,” which ended up being the lead singer of Van Halen, David Lee Roth.
The love the singer felt on stage was clear: love for his music, love for his band, love for the crowd. He never stopped smiling. Even after having a few technical difficulties, he was giggling with the person helping him on stage. You couldn’t help but feel happy just by looking at him.
After a few songs, Shakey Grave’s band left him for a small break. His solo songs brought the emotion many associate with him. After the transition from a power ballad to a gentle song, I was left feeling a rollercoaster of emotions in just a few minutes. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh at another one of his jokes or try not to let the people around me see me cry. Shakey Graves did an amazing job of keeping the audience in tune with the true meaning of each song. Even with artistic changes, the essence of everything he did on stage was entirely authentic and transformative.
A HERO IN A JUMPSUIT
Something I love seeing at concerts is musicians clearly caring for their fans. In the beginning of a song, a fan went unconscious in the middle of the crowd. Instead of playing through the song, Shakey asked his band to take a knee and asked people to make a path. Immediately, everyone got the person to safety and they were able to enjoy the rest of the show safely.
What made this moment so special, though, was what the singer said after it happened. “Sometimes you don’t think the world is getting any better, but then moments like this happen and you know they are,” he said as he restarted the song. He talked about only a few years ago no one would have done a thing. He thanked everyone for showing kindness to a stranger and encouraged the crowd to continue showing uninhibited kindness.
Leaving the show, I knew only two things: I was going to sleep well that night and I had just seen someone who radiates love. If you love folky, peace-loving, authentic music, Shakey Graves is the perfect person to see.