By Maya Nair
When you first hear the name Shakey Graves, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a corny horror movie or the name of an old, abandoned haunted house.
But there was nothing remotely scary about Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known as Shakey Graves, as he strolled on stage on Oct. 15 to a sold-out crowd at Terminal West, smiling and laughing in the impressive combination of a cowboy hat, navy suit and a red tie.
Shakey Graves is a blues/folk singer from Austin, Texas who has slowly been working his way up to the top of the folk charts and onto everyone’s “must watch” lists.
Shakey’s first album, Roll the Bones, was self-released on the online music store Bandcamp in 2011.
He has been touring and traveling constantly, this year highlighted by an impressive track record of festivals such as South by Southwest and Hangout Music Festival.
Earlier this month came his much anticipated sophomore release And The War Came, that was accompanied by a performance of his single “Dearly Departed” on “Conan.”
But Shakey is no stranger to the spotlight. Before he became serious about music, he pursued his love for acting, landing a role in the movie “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” and a recurring role in the show “Friday Night Lights.” His love for performing translated directly into the high energy night in Atlanta, the first stop on his tour.
Shakey started the night off with one of my favorite songs from his new record called “If Not For You,” with its varying momentum and boisterous guitar riffs.
The crowd brought just as much spirit with whoops, whistles and occasional laughs as Shakey cracked jokes in the middle of songs.
The set list featured plenty of new songs but also included favorites like “Late July” and “Roll the Bones,” much to the crowd’s delight.
He performed plenty of songs in his usual one-man-band style with his guitar and homemade kick drum and tambourine made from an old suitcase, but he did have a few guests that joined on him stage.
The highlight was definitely when indie folk singer-songwriter EsmÃ© Patterson came on stage.
Shakey’s new record features three standout duets with EsmÃ©, and the graceful union of their voices sent the crowd into a state of awe.
One of the best parts of the night was when they performed the hit, “Dearly Departed.” The crowd started singing along before Shakey and EsmÃ© even got started and the look of amazement from them was priceless.
Over the years, I have experienced several very different artists in concert, yet they all seemed to have essentially similar crowds.
The occasions usually involved shoving and a multitude of screaming and crying girls, or in stark contrast, I sat in an arena or amphitheater surrounded by disinterested people sitting in their seats.
But this concert was the most refreshing change of pace for me, as I got to appreciate the music without worrying about the people around me.
The crowd was entirely made up of people who were there to enjoy and pay attention to the music being played, not just fawn over the artist or try to head bang into the next century. The folk singer has his fair share of slower, introspective songs, but that in no way made his performance boring. Shakey gave it his all in every song he performed, and the energy in the room was tangible.
There’s no doubt he’ll be back in Atlanta in no time, playing to a bigger crowd as more people take interest in this charming, talented performer.
– By Maya Nair, Contributing Writer