Show Review: The Shivas at the Brotherhood

The Sunday late-night crowd may not have been large at Olympia’s Brotherhood Lounge this weekend, but the energy was certainly palpable.

Three bands were set to take the stage, culminating in the rock n’ roll quartet known as The Shivas, from Vancouver, Wash. Kicking their set off with the aptly titled “Swimming with Sharks,” The Shivas immediately displayed their surf influences. Less Beach Boys, more Astronauts, the guitar kicked in with a full dose of surf-psych at it’s garagiest best.

Downshifting occasionally to let the crowd breath with the likes of the rockabilly ballad “Baby I Need You,” The Shivas invariably picked up the pace once again. The show culminated in several of their best known singles: the raucous harmonies of “Gun in my Pocket” and finally, fully, back to their roots with the quintessential surf-rocker “Manimal.”

The Shivas are a relatively new acquisition to Olympia’s very own K Records, and the Brotherhood was the last stop of their tour. If you missed it, never fear; although the band is young (some members are barely twenty-one) they have been playing together for around five years. With an average of over a hundred shows a year, it is a good bet that the next tour wont be very far away. You get one mulligan, don’t miss them next time they’re in town.

Playing the supporting set for the duration of the tour were the PDX based (and K Records label-mates) Hornet Leg. A refreshing blend of blues and punk, there was a moment of concern when their lead in song, “Cold Fire,” began with the oft used lyric “when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” But from there it was all blistering drums, driving guitar and bass licks, and a half sung, half shouted vocal styling that might be described as the the walking blues punks. Highlights of the set included “Night of the Phantom,” which emhasized the blues influences of the group, and “Still Life,” which managed to be frolickingly playful and catchy while still maintaining a grimy punk edge.

The openers on the show were Olympia’s Morgan and the Organ Donors with their own punk rock/garage/(insert vague indie subcategory here) sound.

Their aesthetic was messy while still being tight instrumentally, the musical equivalent of the bed-head that takes hours of styling to create. The difference being, the Organ Donors come across as well polished and fun as opposed to contrived and douchey. A particular favorite was “What I Want,” which showcased vocals that were all at once softly pleading and harshly accusatory, only, you know, in a good way. Their finale was also a highlight- titled “Mood Swings,” it contained the angst of punk and the fun of pop in ways not often heard; a prime example of the ways in which  the two can be corralled together successfully. Think the anti-Green Day.

By Patrick Stewart