Valley QueenOct 14, 2018
Going into this, I had no idea who Shadow Party was. That is until I heard them play and they told me exactly who they were. The way Shadow Party utilizes and incorporates every instrument and aspect of the band in order to create something different every song is something so refreshingly creative. With Tanner Yokm on the drums, they were able to create a multi-layered grunge masterpiece. Najua Saad’s raw voice just screams post-punk and strikes up the perfect balance of talking, yelling, and singing. Their unexpected lyrics were surprisingly poetic and fresh. It is clear how in tune Shadow Party is with their genre and audience in listening to “North Dakota.” Their crafted rhapsody begins with an intriguing intro by bassist Andrew Griffin that allows their listeners a moment to breathe before it is brought to life by Yokm’s percussion and by Saad’s vocals which is eventually transformed by Joe McKenzie’s electric guitar shreds that adds another layer of depth to their performance. It wasn’t until the end of their set, performing The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I go” did I get to see what the band is truly made of. This song seemed to be the spark they needed to let loose and release a wave of fun and energy they used to complete their set with a bang of sweet melodic chaos, leaving me wanting more.
Upon hearing the opening chords of Valley Queen, it was clear I was about to hear something very special. As soon as Natalie Carol stepped on stage, I was immediately intrigued by her effortless coolness. Her lingering voice immediately gave me chills and proved to have no ceiling. It was strong and savory but it also had a level of sweetness and purity that brought her audience into her world. They were the perfect innovative, unique combination of Fleetwood Mac and Florence and The Machine. The band had a synchronicity and maturity that only became more evident the longer they played. Their confidence and strong sense of identity, instead of holding them back, gave them the ability to break the bounds of genre and reinvent their sound every song. While all their music had a poetic and soulful quality, they had a diverse set, playing songs with more of a harder punk edge and then some softer and more thoughtful. The thing I liked the most about them was their realness and humbled beauty that showed that they were not trying to be anything. They didn’t have a certain image to uphold. They put it all into the music. Every song was a dynamic piece of art. Their pop-folk sound and daunting lyrics allowed their music to be incredibly authentic and personal but still maintaining a level of intrigue and mystery. It was exciting that I couldn’t quite figure them out all the way. They created such an audience experience that their live presence put their recorded music to shame. This performance made me think about life and made me feel. I am excited for this band. They are the unexpected and the new. They are the future.
Photo by Laszlo Marton