If you have the good taste to read live reviews, we highly doubt that you need to be told the benefits of hitting up shows, but here’s one anyways: Attending a live show always means you can finally hear a band pronounce their own name or pesky song titles that you wouldn’t know how to enunciate otherwise.
Such in the case with SHAED, a D.C.-based band who’ve got a name like an obscure hipster Brooklyn coffee bar.
The trio — who, for the record, pronounce their name like “shade” — performed Monday night (December 4) at Great Scott, roping in the complementary alternative Dizzy and Foreign Air for the ride.
Sporting a more modern configuration, SHAED splits all of the instrumental heavy lifting between only two band members, who alternate between synths, guitar, bass, keyboard, and an electronic drum pad while lead singer Chelsea Lee nails the vocals. It’s ambitious, it’s a somewhat confusing round of musical chairs, and most importantly, it works for the trio, who put an authentic soul spin on pop music (or vice versa — it’s still unclear which genre is the dominant one here).
With all the space SHAED saves from sharing instruments (and especially minus an entire drum kit), there’s an abundance of space for the group’s custom lighting rigs, making SHAED perhaps the most well-lit group to ever perform in Great Scott’s constant dim and drab lighting. Lee’s face dipped in and out of hues of turquoise and scarlet, while the lighting configurations behind her beamed white rays through her stray wisps of hair. A neon pink sign spelling out “SHAED” only added to their projected NYC coffeehouse aesthetic, be it intentional or not.
SHAED may offer a small catalogue for the time being, but that next-level stage setup insinuated otherwise. Staring with the rumble of “Thunder” and sliding into the beckoning caress of “Just Wanna See,” whenever Lee so much as opened her mouth onstage, her husky but sweet vocals poured out. The band slinked through the six tracks of their EP Just Wanna See, peppering in a cover of “Ignition (Remix)” before cussing R. Kelly and his bullshit behavior out afterwards.
Later, Lee recalled the process of penning “Lonesome” (which included one Airbnb, one mountain lion, and zero silverware) before playing their power balled of a single. “Trampoline,” their fledgling techno-tinged track wriggled its way into the set before luminous final track “Running Through Fields.”
There are no complaints here; SHAED’s live performance rings true to their recordings, and with some added lighting effects, they prove there’s more shimmer in the shade.