Live Review: Gringo Star + Shantih Shantih @ Black Cat, 5/21/17

At this point, it seems to be an annual happening, my going to see Gringo Star. This time, they brought along lovely lady cohorts Shantih Shantih, turning an ordinary Sunday night into a retro rock & roll get down at the Black Cat.

The babes of Shantih Shantih gave exactly what I had expected/hoped for: lots of sass, very vintage vibes with a winking eye, and a lot of noise. This is a band with style and substance, and nary a foot was left untapping as the ladies cooed and shredded their way through their set. New favorite "Winter in September" had a certain roughness around the edges, in the best possible way. Theirs is a very full, rich sound. It purrs, but look elsewhere if you want mere fluffy fun. There's muscle in this music, these women can wail. Great basslines, great drums, great riffage, and great vocals. What more could you want from these smart, swampy surf confections? 

Over the past nine years or so I've seen Gringo Star a whole lot, and even after several lineup changes this Atlanta band still rules. They never seem to put a foot wrong when they're up there on stage. Their breed of scuzzy 60s revivalism is effortless and undeniable, not to mention fun, from the catchy clamor of old favorite "All Y'all" to the slow and low spook of "Shadow" to the hip-shaking quake of "Ask Me Why." As always, the instrument handoff was frequent, the energy was high, and the songs sounded great. 

The crowd at the Black Cat was small but appreciative, though I was disappointed not to see a packed house for a band that certainly deserves it. To my delight, the band closed with one of their most irrepressibly jangly nuggets (and one of my very favorite Gringo songs), the crush-worthy crush anthem "Make You Mine." It's tough not to be smitten with a song like that, and it's tougher still not to be smitten with Gringo Star.     

[photo copyright Megan Petty]

[posted 6.11.17]


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