Shakey Graves and “Big Phil”- Palace Theatre Heroes


I first started following Shakey in college, when I came across a video of him playing one of his most well-known tunes, “Late July”.  He performs this as a one-man-band, with his guitar and a bass-drum.  “Late July” is a lyrical masterpiece, which led me to only more of the same from Shakey Graves, who is a master at song-writing.

I’ve become sort of a super-fan throughout the years.  Mostly because of the pure beauty of his songs, but partly because it reminds me of good times with buddies.  To me, that’s why Shakey’s music is so powerful- bringing people together through catchy lyrics and melodies.  That being said, the crowd at the Palace seemed to be out-of-sorts, with a couple of fights breaking out something that’s very unusual for this venue.  Perhaps due to the anticipation of seeing Shakey?  Regardless, the music overcame this and Shakey was as good as I’ve ever seen him.

On his current tour to promote his new album, Can’t Wake Up, Shakey Graves was joined by The Wild Reeds, an up-and-coming Indie Folk band from LA.  With albums released such as Blind and Brave and The World We BuiltThe Wild Reeves continue to write more awesome music, which reminds me quite a bit of The Staves.  Beyond the great music, the three front-women are incredible performers.  They are highly-engaged with the crowd and seem very genuine.  I had never heard them prior to the night but I will definitely keep up with them.

If you are not already a fan, Shakey Graves, whose real name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is from Austin, Texas.  He combines elements of Blues, Folk and Rock and Roll to create songs that are easy to sing along to and hard to forget.  A fun side-fact is that Alejandro was a child-actor and had a role in “Spy Kids 3”.

His stage name came after a festival in 2007, when he and some buddies were around a campfire making up Indian guide names for each other.  He liked the name, which was originally a joke, so much that he kept it.  He’s been to the Twin Cities multiple times before, most recently on “Live from Here” with Chris Thile in April of last year. Despite “Big Phil” (the biggest security guard on God’s green earth) having to be called in to escort multiple fans out of the Palace Theatre, Shakey Graves overcame a weird crowd-dynamic and did what he does best.  The man has some serious lungs.

Shakey played multiple songs from his new album, including “Cops and Robbers” and “Counting Sheep”, which are two songs that show his diverse ability as they are quite different than some of his earlier work.  To finish off the night, Shakey Graves played the song that first caught my attention those years ago, “Late July”.  This was the perfect way to end the night and remind a rowdy crowd why they were there.  To bond over amazing music.