POZ Show Review: Shone - 02/07/13
by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen
The crazy viral marketing campaign behind Shone’s Heat Thing album led to all sorts of wild speculation about the band’s membership (was it Brand New in disguise?), and drove interest to a degree rarely seen for unknown acts. Witness tonight’s debut show at Mercury Lounge, a show that sold out before the album was even released, to which most tickets were purchased before the band had even been heard. Some may have regretted that purchase — Heat Thing is a challenging disc of oddball rock that touches on everyone from the Talking Heads and Bryan Ferry to Oingo Boingo and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and bears no resemblance to anything released by Brand New. So it was with a mix of excitement, curiosity and trepidation that the crowd filed into the small, packed venue for tonight’s show.
Frontman Andrew Accardi (Robbers) emerged onto the small stage (which was surrounded by gently pulsing neon light sticks and angled mirrors) covered in striped face paint, wearing two boldly patterned shirts with a scarf tied around his waist as a belt. Prancing and shimmying across the stage with a half-goofy wildness, he cut a striking figure, something akin to Austin Powers-meets-Pan-in-a-fever-dream. He toyed with instruments at times — a tambourine, a small megaphone-like device — but mostly remained unencumbered, waving his hands wildly as he danced. When he approached the mic, he primarily did so with a smooth croon, reminiscent of Dredg’s Gavin Hayes.
To his right, brother Vin Accardi (Brand New), hair pulled back in wild pigtails and sporting a day-glow orange windbreaker, bounced between synths, guitar, and assorted noisemakers. Stage left, Mike Strandberg (Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz) manned his guitar behind a pair of Cyclops sunglasses. They were joined by a dual-drummer attack of Brian Lane (Brand New) and Ben Homala (Bad Books, Brand New crew), bassist Joe Cannetti (Brand New crew), and a second keyboardist who doubled as a horn player, as well as (briefly) a cellist bedecked in a bright red feather boa and a long wig the same shade.
Still, for all their wild looks, the band sounded exceptionally tight as they charged through Heat Thing's nine tracks in apparent order, taking only a handful of brief breathers in between. The mood was playful; the band was clearly having fun, but never let the set drift into sloppiness. If Shone is, as some have contended, a joke (I suspect otherwise), on this night it was an awfully well rehearsed one — the band's set tightly mimicked the album, recreating its unpredictable twists and turns seamlessly. There were a few deviations, to be sure — at one point, Andrew Accardi led his bandmates through the introductory passage of Prince's “Let's Go Crazy”; at the end of Slithering, he danced through the crowd, then returned to the stage and attempted to start a “6-6-6” chant among the assembled. But by and large, Shone stuck to the script.
Toward the end of the set, Andrew Accardi joked with Homala about the night being Shone’s “last show”. It’s not clear if the band have any future plans, or if the night was simply a one-off celebration of the newly released Heat Thing. Personally, I hope I get the chance to shout “earthquake! milkshake!” at least one more time. I suspect the crowd at the Mercury Lounge tonight would agree.
Opening trio Sleep Bellum Sono played a brief but fiery twenty-minute set full of woozy guitar tones and scruffy, twisted anger. Their mix of dirty shoegaze, post-hardcore and early 90’s indie rock slushed together in an ugly, nauseous din that struggled but failed to crush back a series of irrepressible melodies. Their spirited set received a polite but tepid response from the audience.
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