Shannon and The Clams – The Haunt, Brighton – 31st August 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

The rise of Shannon and The Clams has been a joy to watch. Having seen them rise through the ranks, including playing venues such as Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, the Brighton audience has really taken their 50s-meets-garage-rock to heart. Their latest album, Onion, has further seen them rise and their gig at The Haunt was the ultimate celebration of a truly unique band. With joint vocalists, and a sound from a bygone era, Shannon and The Clams turned The Haunt into a setting more accustomed in an American prom movie.

Falmouth’s Holiday Ghosts – made up of members from The Black Tambourines and Red Cords and who we last saw supporting Penelope Isles for the Christmas extravaganza – provided the support on the night. With a rock and roll sensibility, as well as vocals coming from three different directions, they proved to be the perfect support for the band and with the entire tour coming up they’re sure to pick up more than a few fans along the way. Despite stating the fact they “Got to the venue ten minutes before they were supposed to be on”, they played a confident set made up of last year’s self-titled album.

With five albums under their belt now, and almost a decade as a band, Shannon and The Clams have become a supremely confident live band with the nuance. Not only that, but as a live band, they’re such a tight knit unit that they don’t even have to look at each other for cues into the next song. However, with Onion, released back in February, they’ve now got the hits to keep an audience happy for over the hour. As such, the likes of ‘The Boy’, ‘Did You Love Me’ and ‘Backstreets’ are all dutifully sung back to the band word for word.

In fact, throughout the night, the crowd, some of which had travelled down from their Manchester gig the night before, were having the time of their lives and kickstarted the weekend with a bang. There aren’t many bands that have that sort of connection with their audience, but Shannon and The Clams not only seem appreciative but genuinely happy to see so many people enjoying their music. There’s a humble nature to the band, which makes them all the more endearing.

It’s the music, of course, that has earned the band this loyal following and it’s evident on the night. The sublime fusion of a 50s doo-wop sound, with 50s style rock and roll intonations, on top of 80s LA punk is never not fascinating. It’s a sound that is so distinctly Shannon and The Clams and there’s no one in the world who can compete with them for it. Everything from their unique sound to their iconic look, and the two-fold infatuation from stage to crowd, Shannon and The Clams provide an exotic, exciting and stimulating night of passion and fun.

Liam McMillen