Shannon and the Clams Charm the Chapel, 8/31/13

Warm Soda at the Chapel. Photos by the author.
Sonny & the Sunsets
Shannon and the Clams
Warm Soda
Saturday, August 31, 2013
The Chapel

Better than: Your average dance party at church.

A night at the Chapel with a good band will make you love San Francisco; a night with three good bands will make you love it like a Shakespearean sonnet soaked in one of the Chapel's Louisiana creole cocktails.

On Saturday, Shannon Shaw herself greeted me at the merch table in every conceivable touch of glitter: golden Oxfords, sheer nail polish, silver Lederhosen, gold eye gilt, dog bone hair pin, and guitar.

Shaw and guitarist Cody Blanchard beguiled every single person in the crowd with their delicious weirdness (Blanchard's eerie falsetto and Ian Amberson's Swiss mountain man shorts behind impeccable drumming) until the crowd thrashed like marionettes on ecstasy. No fewer than fourteen unconventionally beautiful girls in pixie cuts and bridge piercings twirled in a respectful mosh pit of modest vigor.

The seamless power pop set of Warm Soda partially won me over to their music with the sheer perfection of their execution (and haircuts, and insane rhythmic gyrating/bum-to-heel squats) despite syrupy, predictable four to eight chords, in contrast to the Clams' DGAF-awesome-oozing revival gold.

Sonny Smith fornicated ever so sweetly with his battered blue Telecaster, their dark romance echoing in the scarlet vaulted ceiling: "When I look into your eyes, I see the void..."

No more mosh pit, no more gyrating. Just a few hundred people wondering if it was still okay to bear witness to a man plucking the blues so intimately, and without any of the lush trappings of flute or synthesizer longtime fans of Sonny might expect.

It was more than okay. If you're not out watching Sonny or Shannon or praising music in the Chapel, you're doing it wrong.

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