Von Shakes was formed in Dublin by childhood friends Brazel, Hugh O’Reilly (guitar), Cillian McSweeney (bass) and Aaron Masterson (drums) who moved to New York to try and break out. Paddy Brazel said “We love Dublin, we love Ireland, we love the scene, but we just got sick of playing the same spots. It’s a small pond. Unless you break out, you will play those same spots until you die.” Masterson went back to Dublin earlier this year and new member Ryan Normandin (from New Hampshire) joined the group.
Three of the four songs on the new EP are studio tracks and the fourth new track, “Coming Down”, was recorded live.
The three studio tracks - “Pale”, “My Side” and “Talk and Crawl” - are upbeat, edgy rock numbers, each of which captures a sense of urgency and energy. Each of these songs features strong hooks and memorable guitar leads which build up to anthemic, sing-along choruses. While all three tracks are very strong, my favorite is “Talk and Crawl”, as it shows the band’s versatility. This song highlights rolling guitar lines that build up beneath the vocals and there are rises and falls in the song’s intensity levels (the other two songs are played b*lls out). The disc’s finale, “Coming Down”, shows that the band generates the same energy and intensity live that they do in the studio. My only ‘complaint’ with the live track is that I would have liked to have heard more bottom-end in the mix (…but that is a function of the mix, not a fault of the song).
Von Shakes are playing a number of local shows over the next few weeks and are also going back into the studio next month for what I would assume will be the band's second full-length. NYC seems like a tough city to make it as a band but Brazel said “When we feel we’ve grown, we’ll visit home, but not before then. Not till the Bowery Ballroom is sold out in advance with 100 ……looking through the window”.
Von Shakes Fall Tour Dates
Sept. 08 - State College, Pennsylvania - Kildare's State College
Sept. 12 - Hartford, Connecticut - The Half Door
Sept. 15 - Brooklyn, New York - Kitty Kiernans
Sept. 17 - Utica, New York - Hi Lo Recording Studios
Oct. 03 - Pomona, New Jersey - Richard Stockon College of New Jersey
Oct. 05 - Allentown, PA - Muhlenberg College
Oct. 06 - Manhattan, New York - Arlene's Grocery
Oct. 13 - Cobleskill, New York - SUNY
Oct. 16 - Utica, New York - Mohawk Valley
Oct. 17 - Manhattan, New York - The Delancey