Sync or Swim - The Shelters, The Pesos & Pearl Charles
On Saturday night, the Constellation Room stage was filled with a wall of amplifiers decked out in swampland decor. The show was set to start an hour before security started letting people into the venue. I figured one of the bands must be running late. Given the estimated new set times, the last minute addition to the opening bands and my lack of sleep this past week, it was certain that I wouldn't be staying for the headliner. Bummer.
The first act of the night was an upcoming artist and L.A. native, Pearl Charles. Pearl primarily draws her musical inspiration from the legendary scenes of 70's country rock, while modeling a bohemian aesthetic to match. Her set was filled with blues-rock, psychedelic-folk flavor. The vintage, melodic tunes permeated through the room in between the technical difficulties she faced on stage. Notably, tunes like "Sleepless Dreaming" left the crowd in a blissed-out trance swaying side to side to the music.
Next up were The Pesos, who had heard they were playing in the lineup just a few hours before the show. Had they not have mentioned the fact, the 5-piece's performance would not have hinted that they were unprepared for the night. Pesos' set began with their front man downing his beer as soon as their first song started. He then began swaying along with his mellow, relaxed crooning accompanied by the band’s atmospheric instrumentation. Two other band members alternated between lead vocals for their bluesy ballads and bass driven, upbeat songs. After their final track, as they were about to exit the stage, the now hyped up crowd yelled for more. This encore led to band members on the floor and the crowds hands excited with applause.
Last on my list for the night and the main reason I was at the show, were The Shelters, a rock 'n' roll quartet full of swagger and melodic charm. Think 1970's Laurel Canyon meets 80's style glam rock. I made my way to secure a spot at the front of the stage as they were setting up. (Let me just say, when you see a 12-string electric guitar, you know it's about to be good.) Upon the first chord of the opening song, immediately I noticed the transition of music styles from the first two acts was like night and day. With a powerful stage presence, the band started off with fierce energy and electrifying sounds. Each song added to the crowd's energy levels and peaked with some slight moshing towards the center of the room. The crowd pleaser concluded their set with a cover of the Rolling Stone's "Jumpin' Jack Flash" before exiting the stage. The band surely did not disappoint and I was content to leave after their performance, adding the band to my list of favorites.
Keep an eye out for The Shelters’ first full-length album, co-produced by Tom Petty, to be released next year. In the meantime, you can check out their self-titled EP available now.