Shannon and the Clams bring big feeling to Free At Noon ahead of their Union Transfer show - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

“Forgot to turn my beans on,” Will Sprott said, as he reached down to flip a switch. The tropical flower and coconut print decorating the front of his keyboard lit up. Mic stands wrapped in vines and bean sprouts, belonging to bassist Shannon Shaw and guitarist Cody Blanchard, followed suit and twinkled onstage. Very camp. 

Shannon and the Clams are a four-piece rockabilly group hailing from Oakland, California. Since forming in 2007, they’ve released seven studio albums and received rave reviews. Still in Rock wrote “their shows are among the best in the world.”

And World Cafe Live was psyched for it. In their setlist, Shannon and the Clams included multiple hits from their latest LP, The Moon Is In The Wrong Place, released in early May. The album, written in the aftermath of the loss of Shaw’s fiancé, forced the band to write songs in a way they’re not used to. The LP also opens with “The Vow,” originally meant to be a surprise on Shaw’s wedding day, is a powerful and complex ballad. 

Shannon and the Clams | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

But the album is far from one-note. On the WXPN stage, Shannon and the Clams opened with “Bean Fields,” a gleefully hopeful start to both a set and a new love. They also included “The Hourglass,” “What You’re Missing,” and “Real or Magic.” Though their retro garage rock is often upbeat, the lyrics tell a different story. The glittering sheen of Shannon and the Clams’ sound could be from the string lights, but it’s reminiscent of a tear in the corner of one’s eye. 

The title track of their album is out of this world. Think, galactic piano paired with thumping drums that break into spacey surf rock, complete with Shaw and Blanchard demonstrating their skills on guitar and bass.

As the set ended, Nate Mahan tipped his hat to the crowd amid cheers and whoops as Shannon promised to see everyone at their next show. They’ll be performing tonight at Union Transfer as part of their US tour. Tickets and more information available on XPN’s Concert Calendar

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