Shakey Graves with Dr. Dog
Words: Kenneth Coles/ Photos: Madeline Rheaume
Every time I see Shakey Graves perform live I’ve been treated to a new and original show. Each time feels like the first time. His performance at Thompson’s Point did not disappoint.
The pairing of Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog made sense to me, similar genre, similar style and similar sound. But, when I listened to their new albums it clicked just why they were touring together. They were both like whimsical stories that translated beautifully to their live performances.
The sun had set at Thompson’s Point before Dr. Dog took the stage, but the light show was just beginning. With the stage engulfed in smoke, the blue, purple and pink lights created a theatrical scene that the characters on stage danced through. They brought some much energy that I was constantly amazed that they weren’t slamming into each other. My attention shifted from musician to musician in a frenzy to keep up, but always came back to the extraordinary tambourine player. He made that instrument look like the coolest thing anyone has ever played, ever.
Having not really listened to much of Dr. Dog outside their album “Be The Void” I went into the show with a fresh appreciation for them. I’d been listening to their latest album “Critical Equation” all week to build anticipation and their live production left me satisfied and wanting more.
They made their way through their most recent release while also satiating the crowds desire to hear their beloved classics like “Lonesome.”
The mystery and intrigue of what Shakey Graves had in store for us started right away when the stage crew began setting up these huge cloud covered cityscape set pieces behind the instruments. They were like a scene from “Blade Runner” and had a very futuristic feel. Which didn’t seem right for the artist that was about to take the stage until you thought about the album he was touring behind “Can’t Wake Up” which is a complete departure from previous releases.
With a more produced, surreal and modern feel this album could be described as “futuristic.” Hence the “Fifth Element” backdrop. But even though it felt like we were about to watch something set in the next millennia, Shakey entered the stage in his typical jolly, bouncing on his heels with a big grin, fashion and all felt familiar again.
He began with a story about how he spent his summers in Maine as a kid and how he “gets it.”
Then he began playing some newer songs solo to warm everyone up before he brought on the entire band to begin diving into the heart of his new album. At this point the city scape lit up with television screens that projected nonsense images but captivated you none the less.
After a hearty helping of his new album the band left and he gave us all exactly what we were hoping for. All our favorites. From “Dearly Departed” to “Only Son”, we got our fill of everything we love about this guitar playing, suitcase stumping artist.