SHOUT! THE REVOLUTIONARY
RAVE UP ALIVE (1997-2003): VARIOUS ARTISTS o KEMADO RECORDS
New York City is a town full of fixtures and fly-by-nights. For every
Katz deli and Strand bookstore, there are countless forgotten eateries
and that didn't make it. This holds especially true for bars and nightclubs
in the city. You can go on vacation for a week and return to find your
favorite bar gone, and replaced by a Starbucks.
For half a decade, at a three-story club near Union Square, an event called
Shout! has been defying the odds, opening its doors to stylish hipsters
every Sunday. Playing a mix of '60s and '70s Soul and Rock n' Roll, Shout!
successfully recreates the feel of '60s mod all-nighters in England.
Mod revivalism is nothing new. It comes like clockwork every ten years
of so. From the Northern Soul scene of the '70s to the mod-punks of the
'80s, the period of the '60s that bred the Rolling Stones, the Who and
the Beatles has always fascinated subsequent youth cultures. It's just
that these revivals are usually short-lived and lacking in any kind of
depth or imagination.
What really sets Shout! apart from similar, but less successful club nights,
is its stylistic consistency and willingness to play tunes not normally
listed in Northern Soul or Garage Top 100 lists. They always have the
best flyers, the best DJ's, the best video projections and the best live
music, assimilating their favorite elements of the '60s and '70s into
a cohesive party that always adds up to a good time. Garage and soul never
go out of style, the mainstream just tends to forget about it every so
The first time I went to Shout! was when I moved to New York City three
years ago. Considering myself somewhat of an authority on '60s Soul and
Garage, I went looking for a good time, but also expecting to be let down.
Walking up the winding staircase, I heard the Doobie Brothers Listen
to the Music blaring and immediately realized two things: how much
I loved that fucking song, and how Shout! wasn't just your typical Mod
As a testament to its endurance and vitality, Shout! has compiled a CD
of songs from bands that have played their beloved night. The result is
a collection that sounds like music Shout! devotees would make. It's stylish,
occasionally inspired music whose influences are easy to spot.
So let's be influence spotters. The Vue kick things off with some Stooges
and MC5 mimicries. The Greenhornes follow the same leaders, but do it
a little better, since they have something to talk about: Good Times!
The Holmes drive off with some rambling, stoned Rockabilly, then the Witnesses
take a detour as Exiles On Main Street. Mover seem to have
a healthy Creedence fixation, while The Boggs wade deeper up the Mississippi,
summoning the spirits of long lost ancestors once recorded by Harry Smith
in the Appalachian foothills. They got the porch-front dobro licks down,
and their vocals sound truly inbred.
On side two, the British influences kick in. Knoxville Girls play a nasty,
white-boy blues romp that could have almost made the cut on an early Stones
album. The Hiss plays pure post-shoegazer grunge with a swagger that would
make Swervedriver dizzy. Calla gets the funk flowing, laying down some
wicked post-punk beats. Elefant sound like a young U2, but all emotional
pleas, no political rhetoric. Dead Meadow play proto-metal like the '80s
never happened and Ozzy never had a show on MTV. The Warlocks are truly
Spiritualized, while Black Rebel Motorcycle worship Jesus and his Mary
Many of these groups are now probably too big to play at Shout! The less
successful groups are still hitting the club circuit, essentially becoming
pub bands dressed in three-button suits. I'm sure they all remember their
days playing Shout! fondly, and would gladly play there again, if only
their agents and publicists would let them. But this is all speculation.
Shout! The Revolutionary Rave Up Alive (1997-2003) is a surprisingly
consistent compilation, and proves that maybe, just maybe, there's life
left in the rock 'n roll dinosaur. All the more reason to keep attending
Shout! in hopes of seeing tomorrow's garage bands today.
New York, New York