The Shelters @ The Bodega

19. At a little venue in Nottingham on Sunday evening, 19 people were fortunate enough to see a band which is destined to go on to great things. There is no argument to suggest otherwise.

Every band has to start somewhere, and for Los Angeles-based rockers The Shelters that place was the Bodega on Sunday night as they treated Nottingham to their first ever UK headline show. With over 250 shows worth of experience behind them Stateside, plus an album produced by Tom Petty and recorded in his studio, it must have been strange for the band to be greeted by such a small crowd. Yet it is not those who were there who are the unfortunate ones – quite the opposite, as they will be able to look back on this gig as the start, and those who stayed away will regret their decision. This band are far too good to be playing to 19 people, and we can be certain they won’t be for very long in this country.

To say it was an energetic set would be an understatement, as the boys from America seemed to block out the gaps in the crowd and instead set to work on making sure those lucky enough to be there went away with the best impression possible. As the first track, ‘Birdwatching’ possibly could be seen to epitomise the whole gig, with the band entirely in cohesion, looking like a group who not only believe in their ability as a band, but also believe in their ability to go far, and to reach heights far superseding The Bodega to such a small audience.

Fantastic track after fantastic track was to follow. From the steady rock of ‘Liar’, with frontman Chase Simpson croning ‘Tell me what to do, I’m a liar’, to arguably their biggest hit to date ‘Rebel Heart’, in which the likeness to The Beatles is far too great to ignore, The Shelters serve as a band who provide a modern link back to the true Rock ‘N’ Roll era, and display a clear passion for their music. Having already been endorsed by the legendary Tom Petty – not only through the production of their album but also through the use of his studio in order to record their eponymous debut record – the world is at this group of Californians’ feet. To all those who stayed away on Sunday, shame on you. To all those who were lucky enough to be there, you may have been part of the start of something special. These lads are good, and as they brought the curtain down on the show with a cover of The Yardbirds’ hit ‘Lost Woman’, though it might have been the end of the show and the evening, it didn’t feel like the end.

It actually just felt like the beginning.

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