It’s hard to standout on the internet today. Every day Soundcloud is awash with new talent, many that could catch break with one single song. It’s easy to see why 20 year-old Las Vegas newcomer Shamir immediately caught the attention of many. Firstly it was his voice – high pitched and different to anything that we’ve heard, it commands attention. Secondly his songwriting is such that it’s shy and heartfelt while remaining sassy and in your face.
Sassy and shy are the best two words to describe the first show of Shamir’s album headline tour with the juxtaposition making you both relate to him and want to be him. Looming over the mic stand, Shamir looked awkward with a youthful charm when he first took to the stage. He seemed as if he had no idea what to do with his hands and was immediately overwhelmed by the strong turnout.
Those sound like the best way to preface a review of a train wreck show, but Shamir’s live show was quite the opposite. Once you watch for a while his awkwardness becomes part of his IDGAF charm.
Shamir’s songs, particularly the new ones he previewed, call for plenty of attitude. He mimicked the words with his hands and threw in plenty of eye rolls as he dealt with notions of being a hot mess and not being able to drink when you’re only 20. It may seem silly but the strength of the tracks that are set to make up his debut album Ratchet is that they are unashamedly party tracks. They’re groovy, bass-driven and elevated by euphoric chorus’. It’s not mainstream, cut and dry pop though, it’s the kind of pop that Nile Rodgers would trade in.
On The Regular was our first taste from the new album that we knew and it expectedly went off. For the first time Shamir pulled away from the mic stand and dropped the shy act to deliver lines like “Just so you know, yes, yes, I’m the guy.” Complete with cow bells, live, the song proved just how much energy that song can burst with.
He followed it up by bringing in the disco groove with early track I Know It’s A Good Thing. Unlike On The Regular, here, we really got to hear Shamir’s voice in all it’s crackling, high-pitched glory. It may be a voice that’s hard to make reason with at first but after a while you’re drawn in by its sincerity. At times it went slightly wayward and at times it was unbelievably on-point and that’s what made it so intriguing.
As for the new songs many of the them were driven by a deep vocal sample and there was more than a few that feature the cowbell (thank goodness). They oscillated between dance floor stunners and indie pop/rock venturing close to Bloc Party’s early, youthful aesthetic.
For second single Call It Off Shamir unleashed his long dreads, flipping the a round as he bounced from one end of the stage to the other. The song at first doesn’t seem as immediately appealing at On The Regular, but live it proved that it’s a slow-burner and more than capable of being a bigger hit than its predecessor.
You really get the feeling Shamir’s one step away from a radio hit that will blow his status up. In a world where kids are devouring half-arsed songs about living in the moment, Shamir sincerely captures youthful. It’s a little bratty, a little nonchalant and a lot of fun. Before he could even finish his final song he launched into the crowd giving out as many hugs as he possibly could before disappearing – here for a good time not a long time.