Shannon & The Clams ‘Gone by the Dawn’ Tour @ El Rey Theatre

Oakland’s weirdo-punk surfers Shannon & The Clams returned to LA on Wednesday night on the first stop of a 3-month long tour in support of their latest effort Gone By The Dawn, with The Memories, Cool Ghouls, and DJ Seth Bogart.

Shannon & The Clams just released Gone By The Dawn (Hardly Art) less than two weeks prior, and it’s their most vulnerable, cinematic, and fully realized record yet. It’s also their most heartbreaking work to date, partly because it stemmed from, well, heartbreak. Filled with loneliness and regret, the album wears its heart on its sleeve—both Cody Blanchard and Shannon Shaw went through break-ups around the process of recording and it shows.

Imagine a modern day soundtrack to David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, where a weirdo-pop mash of 50s/60s surf, soul, and R&B is blended with rip-roaring, Oakland garage rock. Standouts like “Corvette,” “How Long?” and “It’s Too Late” are honest pourings of nostalgia-infused rock ‘n’ roll reminiscent of the classic soul oldies that we grew up with. Take “My Man” for example, which is a wonderful play off James Brown’s “Try Me” and it’s just as lyrically charged. The sheer confidence, raw power, and soul in Shaw’s vocals will put the feels in you, like Etta James once did with her generation (and still does).

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The vibe at The El Rey felt weirdo-punk kid gone west, with both The Clams and the crowd dressed the part—think dusty spaghetti Western meets Grease. Matching in sparkling golden blazers, Shaw and Blanchard couldn’t have made a better leading pair. Even though they were playing on complete opposite sides of the stage, their presence was just as demanding. Opening with galloping swamp boogie “The Bog,” it wasn’t long before they reached back for “Into a Dream,” sparking a frenzy of waving bodies in the pit turned crowd-surfers paradise. Let’s just say the dust never settled.

They even came back for an encore hitting the crowd hard with Sleep Talk dynamite, “The Cult Song,” which had the sweat dripping crowd chanting ooga-booga-ooga-booga before ending with “Done With You”—the perfect send-off for the night.

Check out images from the night below, taken Wednesday, September 22. Text by Janine Juarez and James Juarez.

Shannon & The Clams

The Memories

Cool Ghouls

All images copyright © James Juarez