by Joel Greatbatch
Photos by Andrew DeThomas
For those not in the know Sharks in The Deep End are an Austin band, who released their debut album Killin’ Machine back in April and have been doing a bit of touring around the country to spread the word. On July 8th they returned to remind us of how impressive an outfit they are at a very unique venue. I’m becoming gradually familiar with the multitude of music venues around Austin, so when I was informed that Sharks In The Deep End were performing at Geraldine’s I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for (doesn’t have quite the same ring as Chuggin’ Monkey). But when I walked up to Hotel Van Zandt I did wonder if Google Maps was playing with me. I asked the well dressed doorman if I was at the right place and he directed me through the Hotel’s revolving doors and from there I headed towards Geraldine’s marked elevator, was asked for a standard ID check by another well dressed man, then as I was ascending the audio speakers suddenly turned on to start the set of songs I had recently become familiar with. The doors parted in time to be hit by the sparkling sound and sight of six men confidently filling a room with some of the snappiest music you’ll hear right now.
All members of the band played their instruments with a cool swagger of assurance but it’s frontman Tucker Jameson who does what most good frontmen do, assuredly capture your attention. He glides around the stage singing with pitch perfect charisma and swiping some jagged edges off his guitar strings. Plus he has the best hair in indie rock (kind of like a forward growing version of Albert Hammond Jr’s cuddly afro before his male patterned baldness kicked in). While all the tracks they played from their album Killin’ Machine were great, it was the sizzling “Shadow in the Sunset” which proved why it’s the album’s lead single. Its sizzle was perhaps a bit too much for some, as a number of others who were sitting down at tables and plush booths were trying in vain to speak to each other as the band played on with their expected live band gusto. I saw one girl put her fingers in her ears with a bit of a grimace on her face.
The patrons around the venue weren’t the typically dressed casual gig goers, but when the tune “Make It With Me” starts you have no excuse but to tap your feet or at least bob your head like any respectable music listener. Seated women that were blocking their ears now turned their heads to listen to its 80s tinged merriment and it proved the songs are not something you can easily ignore. And there was still a good loyal crowd in attendance all standing in front of the stage who regularly let the band know they were enjoying themselves.
Tucker began introducing his fellow Sharks with each member getting a healthy crowd roar when their respective name was mentioned (Matt on drums seemed to get the biggest holler, so he maybe had more friends there or was just awesome). Things got even more fun with a short tease of The Everly Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and then went all out with a rendition of “Benny and the Jets”, with Tucker commenting “Where’s Elton John when you need him?” Dude, he’s right here singing in some fine falsetto (“Benny!” is not an easy note to hit).
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The rest of the set went on with more of their debut album tunes and after the epic three guitar solo jam in “Your Heart is Changing,” Tucker gave the venue a good night and proclaimed “let the drinking commence.” I heard a surprised girl say “Is it over?” And indeed it was. There was no opening act, no drawn out set of needless noodling, just a short and sweet display of why this is a band you should genuinely get excited about and why their album is definitely one for you to listen to. Plus they had their classy name and album cover printed on the kick drum, and you know a band is taking things seriously when their drummer dedicates his kit to show what gang he’s in. Tucker and The Sharks? I’m sure that will be their short lived moniker if Geraldine’s ever gets round to an Elton John covers night.
Joel Greatbatch is a Kiwi, but please don’t eat him.