A tour bus outside a small club is an interesting sign. It often means that you have a relatively established band that is serious about touring and generally plays larger venues.  A larger profile band in an intimate venue is an experience you don’t get every day; it can make for an exceptional show.  Shallow Side’s show at the Foundry in Jackson, Michigan was a great example of what a band with some time on the road can do with a smaller room.  Shallow Side hit the perfect middle ground of engaging the crowd with the comfort of a bar band while playing a tight and concert hall worthy performance.

Shallow Side has been playing shows in support of their new Saints and Sinners Album.  Their album is different than a lot of heavy rock bands of today.  In a sea of bands who are trying to be Black Sabbath, their sound harkens back to a more mainstream late 70’s guitar rock sound with some modern influence.  Saints and Sinners is a strong album that is catchy at first listen and gets steadily better with each successive time it’s heard.  The album shows the kind of versatility that you see in 70’s and early 80s mainstream rock like Bad Company and Journey, where the feel is different song to song, but where it still sounds cohesive and organic so the variety doesn’t come off as contrived or forced. I’ve seen descriptions of the band where they talk about a noticeable southern rock sound, but frankly, I don’t hear that slippery behind the beat southern greasiness that I associate with southern rock.  The band’s music and sound translated very well to their live show, and the band did a great job of delivering the versatile sound they put down in the studio while putting on a great live performance.

The recurring theme I heard in the audience was that the band exudes a sense of honesty.  Shallow side does a good job of charting their own path and sound while still being able to carry their influences along with them to light the path.   Both the album and live show are worth checking out if you want a change from the standard Sabbath derived rock.

All photos by David Booth

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