Live Review from Underground 113

Shatalene continued tDBK’s trend of sounding really good (although, it’s a little unfair since Shaun from tDBK is drummer in this band), and there could hardly be a better circumstance in which to see them live for the first time. By a mix of ill-luck and what I can only assume is a malicious god of show-scheduling, I haven’t been able to see Shatalene live before this night even though they’ve been around for a while, for which I tried to make up by listening to them on bandcamp. However, live turned out to be way better. The band is a twosome, with the other being Natalie (who also plays bass for Tigerbombers), who apparently only picked up the bass a couple of years ago or so, but seems to have been a natural, because she’s now pretty damn good at it (another example of this would be awesome-bassisst Maggie from Say Mosquito), and adds finesse to the bands she plays in, with her smooth, rounded sound and a tendency to play ever so slightly after the beat.

The mix of the two talents ends up being very interesting, and surprisingly polished; the execution is flawless, and the songs are small vignettes of bass-dominated rock ‘n’ roll; it’s a little like what I imagine Flipper would sound like if they covered Shangri-Las or Yardbirds songs – deep but non-jagged bass that’s played more like a lead blues guitar, playing sweet-sounding melodies.

I must say, before I heard them, I didn’t know that Natalie could sing quite as well she showed on this night, and her voice really shone on songs like Walking and Love Darts. The vocals kept passing between Shaun and Natalie, which was a great way to keep the interest high for all their songs. Bangkok Surprise started off sounding like Beautiful Zelda and moved into sounding very much like a Thai Shangri Las song, while the slightly-jazzy-slightly-50s-rock ‘n’ roll Walking. The last two songs were super-heavy, and featured Shaun going crazy on the drums. The closer was probably their best song, with its wonderful combination of a punky, Ramones-y sound, and sounding very much like The Slits, or Bikini Kill, which was a great way to finish. It was a bloody impressive set if I’ve ever seen one, and definitely up there with the best set of any band I’ve seen for the first time, and perfect end to a great show.

— Shashwati Kala

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Performances by Shatalene: