Friday, May 27, 2011


We pride ourselves on the DIY ethic that underlies Total Fest. It's the part of the festival that we strive to celebrate the most, and it's the joy and friendships that happen that leave that PBR stained perma-grin on our collective faces come Sunday.

Step-in Shellshag. Since the 90's, John (Shell) and Jen (Shag) have helped establish the strata that stretches between both coasts. Their newest lp, Rumors in Disguise, builds upon the groundbreaking, yet oddly familiar ep Gary Young (2004) and 2007's Destroy Me, I'm Yours. Yes, they're a two-piece. Yes, we tend to like those. Yes, two-pieces run the risk of becoming predictable. Trust us, Shellshag is anything but predictable. They possess an impressive resume of touring, "played-with ..." and community involvement. The songs contain all the right hooks, the right lyrical catches, but there is undoubtedly something more. For some reason, you're never supposed to say this, but, John and Jen are great people. They're fun loving and committed. The crisscrossed mics that link the two on-stage mirror the effect of their music. It's intimate. It's fun. It's personal. It's a healthy dose of honesty. It's inclusive and forward looking. It's not unchecked positivity, but it is the result of a decade and a half of eating, breathing and playing music together that allows for this duo to continually impress fans. Shellshag is hypnotizing, and it's refreshing to know that people like this not only exist in the world but also help to secure its foundations.

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