Upon arriving at The Viper Room in Hollywood, CA, we were able too chat with Shawn James briefly before his set, giving us some insight into the night’s play list.
“We are playing an acoustic set, just me and the fiddler. Then the Shapeshifters get on stage and then we will play some good, some really good hard music. We sound and play harder in person,” said James.
Eagerly we awaited James to take the stage. The previous band, Heroine, intoxicated the crowd with their energy, pumping them up for the headliner. I began to wonder will Shawn James and the Shapeshifters be able to keep this up. The answer was kick you in the chest, undoubtedly, HELL YESSSS!!!
The two piece acoustic set was amazing. James introduced the new fiddler, Sage Cornelius. The two paired beautifully, every song with vigor and raw emotion. I got a serious case of the feels!
From feel-good happy tunes, to that gutted pain that seeped through the notes sung to your soul, you simply just felt the music. James’ voice is raspy, almost bluesy and raw coming to a climax as he began telling the story of how, Through the Valley came to be. The song tells of deep pain dealing with rejecting for being an outcast as he grew up in a church. His little sister learned and experienced that same pain when she too was bullied.
“I wrote this song as a giant FUCK YOU !!!! To every organization, people or religion who puts themselves on a pedestal and who look down on other people thinking they are not good enough to be on that level. I think that’s a bunch of bull shit, that doesn’t belong anywhere in the world!!!”bellows James from the stage, which is now his pulpit.
The song blew us away. Wow, and thank you.
The acoustic set ended perfectly. The Shapeshifters took the stage guns drawn. Kicking the door in with, Back Down. Instantly getting us hooked, loud, proud and never standing down, they had it! James’ guitar perfectly shredding every note while Jeff Bodine’s bass gave us what we wanted and went beyond a technical lesson. Kirby
Westmoreland ‘s drumming was crisp, clear and kept the band together, hitting hard, loud and precise. The crowd was shaking and dancing. Even Jedidiah Brandon’s banjo effected everyone by making that swampy killer sound. Cornelius fiddling helped bring it all together and shoved the notes down your throat by giving their hard, bayou, metal blues an edge, leaving the amplifiers ringing and the crowd cheering for more! James’ vocals took us on a roller coaster as we entered the bands wall of sound. James gave us deep blues, beautiful gospel harmonies and that hard metal voice. It made us want to get into the mosh pit or dance!
The set list at The Viper Room included
solo/acoustic set (with fiddle payer):
Number of the Beast
Through the Valley
Shawn James with Shapeshifters
U.S.tour and the European tour dates include:
Thursday, June 15th at Lowbrow Palace in El Paso, TX
Friday, June 16th at Bamm Festival in Cloudcroft, NM
Saturday, June 17th at Barleycorn’s in Wichita, KS
Monday, June 19th at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill in Dallas, TX
Tuesday, June 20th at Limelight in San Antonio, TX
Wednesday, June 21st at The Deadhorse in San Angelo, TX
Thursday, June 22nd at Swan Dive at Austin, TX
Friday, June 23rd at Leftwoods in Amarillo, TX
Saturday, June 24th at The Fur Shop in Tulsa, OK
Friday, September 17 at Muddy Roots Music at Cookeville, TN
Shawn James and The Shpaeshifter European Tour Dates:
Wednesday, June 28th TBA in Antibes, FR
Saturday, July 1st at Pirate Farm Fest in Tielt-Winge, BE
Sunday, July 2nd at Sunday Roots Festival in Meppel, NL
Wednesday, July 5th TBA
Thursday, July 6th at Schaubude in Kiel, DE
Friday, July 14th at Garage Sound Fest in Madrid, ES
Saturday, July 15th at Razmatazz 3 in Barcelona, ES
Friday, July 21st at Südwinsen Festival in Südwinsen, DE
Saturday, July 22nd TBA
Sunday, July 23rd at Tag der Jugend in Geislingen, DE
Tuesday, July 25th at Foodtruck Festival in Basel, CH
Wednesday, July 26th at Blueballs Festival in Luzern, CH
Thursday, August 3rd TBA
Sunday, August 6th at U & D in Stuttgart, DE
Tuesday, August 8th at Tucher Blues & Jazzfestival in Bamberg, DE
Saturday, August 12th at Gruben Grooves
Sunday, August 13th at Open Flair Festival in Eschwege, DE
The Viper Room is located at 8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069