The perfect pairing of Austinites commenced in San Diego last Thursday night when Shakey Graves and Jade Bird graced the stage at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.
Jade opened the night solo, only carrying a guitar. Despite being by herself, her incredible charm, impressive stage presence, and stellar songwriting won the crowd over immediately. Bandmates Lucky Kilmartin and Julia Laws added to her expansive sound a few songs later. They played tunes from Jade’s two albums, some unreleased tracks off of her forthcoming album, and ended the set by covering Stevie Nicks and Johnny Cash. Bird left Humphreys buzzing for more. I have no doubt that she would’ve been ushered out for an encore if time permitted.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia (aka Shakey Graves) stepped on stage shortly after. Smoke and wind machines stirred up a pseudo-storm that swirled along with the first plucks of his strings. Graves isn’t coming off of any major release so the show was unique in that it didn’t follow the theme of a regular album cycle. There were matching suits, futuristic lasers, and a rich display of colors—perhaps an allusion to what could be coming soon in his ever-expanding discography.
If you’ve seen Shakey Graves before, you might be aware of how much he can pull off by himself. Usually accompanied by a suitcase-turned-kick-drum and a ring of guitars, Graves can often act as a one-man band. This tour, however, showcased the establishment of accompaniment in the naming of the band that will be out on the road with him. He prefaced their introduction by stating, “some of these songs that I wrote are supposed to be played with people, I had just never found the right people. These are the right people.” Those people call themselves, “The Problem.” The Problem is comprised of Patrick O’Conner (guitar), Cameron Neal (keys), Matt Pence (drums), and Taylor Craft (bass).
Shakey Graves and The Problem drew from a wide range of songs throughout the night. I doubt the sold-out crowd could point to a clear favorite. Covers of Pixies, “Where is my Mind” and Pink Floyd’s “Time,” were unexpected and welcome additions. Though San Diego was just the thrid stop on Shakey Graves’ fall tour, the band is playing as tight as if it were there finale. You don’t want to miss this one.
Catch Shakey Graves on tour for the rest of the year!