A performance from Shaku- live music during COVID
I want you to close your eyes with me, and imagine the thick scent of sweat hanging in clotted clouds in the air, the sticky floor stained in years of cheap alcohol. Your hearing has temporarily disappeared and you can’t remember a time your sweaty skin wasn’t touching someone else’s. That’s right, you’re at a concert.
Images by Ruth Purser
I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one missing live music and I feel so lucky that I was able to experience some so intimately with the current situation. Leeds based band Shaku recently performed a performance at Eiger Studios for Leeds Student Radio which was streamed live on their station.
Their Jazz-Rock fusion was definitely something different for me, but surprisingly enjoyed. The band consists of six members (Noiak on guitar and vocals, Rob on guitar, Kieran on bass, Jasper on keyboards and synths, Ben on sax, flute and extra synths and Jack on Drums), each with their own electric presence which fuse together to form the unique and refreshing music the band are known for. Through their longer songs, lengthy instrumentals and different song structure, Shaku are breaking the well-known conventions typically adhered to in the music industry. Their fan-favourite song ‘Scraps’ comes in at a hefty seven minutes of upbeat beats and fragments of vocals. Definitely worth a listen online but even more so in-person.
The performance itself was a great experience. To be hearing live music again in itself was overwhelming, plus my first time inside a studio-setting was overall informative and memorable. The band played through half an hour of their discography in the small setting which was complete with sunset coloured lighting and homely props. Many of the songs came from their recent album ‘Make’ which was released earlier this year. Having not
heard the songs before, I was unsure of what to expect but I cannot deny that I was blown away by the skill presented by each member and the refreshing energy the band filled the room with. One thing I must commend this band for is their live presence, although only in a small studio their half an hour performance was vibrant and lively and I found myself struggling not to bob along whilst trying to remain still for filming.
After this dynamic performance we (run by LSR) engaged the band in an interview, here the band discussed how COVID (our least favourite topic) has impacted their plans and the jazz scene in Leeds. Carried out in the Eiger Studios bar area the atmosphere was very chill and welcoming. Each member had a say in the conversation and I, for one, found it extremely interesting learning about a different area of the music community in Leeds. As interested as I am in music, it’s always fascinating to hear a band’s views and opinions on what’s going on, almost a behind-the-scenes scoop. The interview should be up on Leeds Student Television soon for anyone who wants to watch! I would, of course, highly recommend.
Overall, the experience was eye-opening and exhilarating in the current boring day-to-day routine we have all developed with the pandemic. If you’ve found your regular playlists repetitive and need something new to break it up, I would highly recommend giving their music a listen, and attending one of their live performances when things are back up and running. Shaku’s music is available on Spotify and band camp, as well as Instagram (@shaku_band) and Facebook.
Words by Georgia Lay