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Shannon and the Clams – MiO Squirtcar – NXNE 2014

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Shannon and the Clams – MiO Squirtcar – NXNE 2014

NXNE MiO Squirtcar Shannon and the Clams Performing

Cred: Sam Santos


Who: Shannon and The Clams
From: Oakland, CA
Where: The MiO Streetcar
When: Thursday June 19, 2014


With the after taste of pizza still in my mouth — I refer here not to The Pizza Underground, who’d just finished their bizarre TTC streetcar set, but literally to the free slices that were distributed towards the end of the set as some hyper-ironic punchline to a joke I’m not sure I get — I hopped back on board the specially chartered NXNE streetcar for round 2. This time I’d be seeing a band whom I respect a great deal more… No particular offense to Macaulay, who I desperately wished was my best friend in 1990. Suffice it to say, in 2014 I’m far less interested in attending any, let alone all of Mac’s pizza parties (sung to the tune of The Velvet’s All Tomorrow’s Parties).

Nowadays I’m far more keen on things like Oakland, CA’s Shannon and the Clams — a bubblegum punk 3-piece with a soft spot for the oldies. The Clams are a colourful fusion of 60’s pop/doo-wop songwriting and short and sweet Ramones style screamers that would carry on the tradition of raunchy garage rock into an edgier new era. Singer/bassist Shannon Shaw and singer/guitarist Cody Blanchard respectively find the connection between raspy vocalists like Del Shannon or Gene Vincent, and the doo-wop darling croons of Leslie Gore or Brenda Lee resulting in seamless complimentary interplay that solidifies the 3 piece as a band on the exact same nostalgic wavelength. Blanchard even contributes a pretty tone-perfect yodel that’s enough to make you wonder how the craze ever went out of style.

The streetcar series is a very cool new feature for NXNE. I was less convinced of this watching The -ahem- Pizza Underground, but actually seeing a kickass band rock out in a setting generally reserved for the mundane, filled me with city pride.  I’ve seen The Clams in a few cities now, including Santa Ana, home of Burger Records, a label that releases some Clam tapes, and I can attest that they’re incredibly strong performers regardless of the venue. But never had I been more aware that I was watching a uniquely Toronto show than in that streetcar. It’s not a flawless system, as I felt for those unable to move to the back (as the driver so often insists), but it’s an incredibly fun space. Thus, no band was more appropriate for the gig than Shannon & The Clams.

By: Zach Gayne