The Cruel Shoes – Blowing Minds at Otto’s Shrunken Head
On Tuesday night, I decided to check out The Cruel Shoes, who regularly play at Otto’s Shrunken Head. The trio of ladies, two of whom just moved to NYC from the Philly area, are KILLER musicians. Let me emphasize that. KILLER.
Now, I was expecting a solid show. If you listen to their songs, you can easily tell that they’ve got some strong, classic rock-inspired grooves. Fun stuff. But what I was not expecting was to sit there gaping at the stage with my jaw on the floor.
I’m not exaggerating. If I have your phone number, and you’re into music, I probably texted you at some point during the set. You know who you are. You received a message full of expletives and amazement from me around 10:00 p.m. In case my tipsiness made the message murky, I’ll clarify: this is the band I was talking about.
What makes The Cruel Shoes such an exciting find? For one, the three gals — guitarist Julie Brown, bassist Emma Lee Wright, and drummer “Goddess” Diana — work off of each other like members of a seasoned jam band (in the best sense of the term). That Brown and Wright have only recently added Diana to the lineup is almost unbelievable, given how organically they play together.
The songs are a throwback to the 60s and 70s, when bands like the Beatles, the Stones, and Zeppelin gave us good, gritty rock n’ roll, but the three-piece makeup of The Cruel Shoes lends the classic sound a more garage-rock feel. The lyrics (many of which are posted as notes on the band’s facebook page) have a sort of concise eloquence that alludes to a darker social commentary. (For the record, the song title and lyric “We Gotta Right to Their Suicide” is a gem that, I’d wager, any of the aforementioned rock greats — Beatles, etc. — would have been proud to have penned themselves. If Paul McCartney hears it, he’ll probably wish he’d been able to sing it circa 1968.)
Most thrilling of all — and much to the satisfaction of my inner metalhead — is watching Brown shred on a twelve-string guitar through solos that stand up against those of many a contemporary metal band.
High praise, I know. But I believe this band deserves it. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are their upcoming performance dates. Go see them live. Decide for yourself.