By Andrea Ramirez-Maciolek, Rock At Night Philadelphia Correspondent
Venue: Union Transfer, Philadelphia-June 7, 2017
When I found out the Shelters were playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia I knew I had to see them play live again. Last night they opened for Royal Blood making it the third time I’ve seen them perform live. This is a record for me as I’ve never seen any band play live three times. This third time will definitely not be my last. I have a lot of musical faith in The Shelters. They truly are a solid gold band. I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of good music but The Shelters by far have captivated me the most. Their sound is beautifully reminiscent of the classic rock vibe we all grew up loving and they turn that classic vibe into their own modern edge punch which makes The Shelters such a unique band.
I first heard about the Shelters last year when I was covering the Mudcrutch show for Rock at Night. They were the opening band on tour with Mudcrutch that summer. As soon as I saw the stage set up with a gorgeous Rickenbacker guitar up front and center I knew I had to listen to this band as I am a huge fan of the distinctive Rickenbacker twangy sound. The Shelters did not disappoint, in fact I went to see them perform again at the Sirius XM Alt Nation Tour a few months later in November. Their songs “Rebel Heart”, and “Never look Behind Ya” have been on heavy rotation on the Sirius XM Alt Nation channel.
Formed in 2015, The Shelters are a four piece band from California. Josh on vocals/guitar and Chase, also on vocals/guitar, switch on and off between lead vocals giving their songs a wide range of vocal prowess. Jacob on bass and Sebastian on drums top off The Shelters sound with their definitive and classic rock driven groove. Their self titled debut album is so damn good they have Tom Petty’s seal of approval who helped produce the album.
Last night the Shelters played to a sold out show and it was clearly visible that everyone was having a great time seeing them perform. Although the low blue and purple lighting along with a very smoky stage made it a photographer’s nightmare to shoot, the atmosphere was a great match for their more psychedelic songs such as “The Ghost is Gone” which starts with a slow and mellow groove with hinting undertones of classic Doors music. It is not fair to compare The Shelters with any other bands since they are their own unique powerhouse but you can clearly hear in their music that they were heavily influenced by the greatest of classic rock bands. When they announced that the next song they were going to play was the first song they wrote as a band together I knew it was Rebel Heart. Rebel Heart happens to be the fan favorite song and the entire audience went crazy. Eventually through their set I somehow ended up with half a beer on me from the person standing next to me who was rocking out hard to their song “Never Look Behind Ya”. If I have anything negative to say about the show is that I wished The Shelters played a longer set. For me it is never enough when they play and as an opening act I realize that it is not enough time for them. You always end up wanting more which is probably why I’ve seen them play live three times.
After their performance the tour manager was kind enough to let me in the back so that I can talk to the band. The guys are as fantastic in person as they are on stage. We talked about art, music, vintage guitars, and the gold nail polish I was wearing in honor of their newly released video “Gold” which was just released last week and features actress Juno Temple and directed by Mike Pellington. We also managed to take a bunch of funny pictures all while the walls where rattling from the Royal Blood performance going on inside the venue. In all honesty, I was there to see only The Shelters and did not mind at all missing out on Royal Blood. Royal Blood is a great band but in my opinion, The Shelters have a lot more to offer. Their music has a deep and personal soul. With every song you transcend into a different emotion and after meeting them in person I realize even more that the great music I love comes from a great band who obviously are very deep and care greatly about their fans, me probably being their biggest fan.
The Shelters have a few more dates to play here in the States before they head out to Europe the end of the month. I also recommend picking up their vinyl record which goes perfect with their retro musical style and it even comes with a free digital down load. Make sure to check out The Shelters when they come to a town near you, I promise you will not be disappointed.
I'm a photojournalist who is passionate about music. I love the adrenaline of shooting live concerts. Photography has given me the opportunity to photograph some of today's most legendary bands, and entertainers. When I'm not photographing music you can find me on the runway shooting New York and Philadelphia Fashion Week.
Favorite quote: “Photography is a love affair with life.” — Burk Uzzle