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Shannon and the Clams create little madhouse videos that both entertain and leave a viewer glad the real world is the way it is. Shannon Shaw’s a cherubic blonde with dark and artsy deliriums. In “Sleep Talk,” for example, her two bandmates party behind her on a boozy bed of tears like nightmarish hallucinations from hell or the Wizard of Oz. Both bear strong resemblance to the small men of the Lollipop Guild, right up to the point where they regurgitate glitter or garlands of party tinsel or bullfrog-green globs of paint on each other. Andy Warhol would have dug this action; I have a feeling the Clams would likewise have been a hit at his New York factory parties of decades ago.

The actual sound of Shannon and the Clams comes out of the lofty pop attitudes of the 1950s and the surf-rock music of the ’60s. The Clams sound as if they made their records back then as well, with an antique tone that is thin, simple, all treble, and lo-fi. Only the vocals and the harmonies are modern, which lends to the woozy party experience that is Shannon and the Clams. Shaw claims, by the way, that she had that band name as a solo artist (just her and bass guitar) long before the other two guys joined the act.

Past Event

Shannon & the Clams, Colleen Green, Ruby Pins

  • Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+

They are drummer Ian Amberson and guitarist Cody Blanchard. All three met while attending art school in Oakland. Shaw and Amberson and Blanchard started out playing soft gigs as a college dorm party band; they don’t sound as if they’ve covered much ground since then, which is among their best qualities, I think. The lack of any pretensions, and the undercurrent of weird-for-the-sake-of-art, make for memorable shows. There may still be a career in all that — the B-52’s plumbed those same foggy depths forever, it seems.

Colleen Green and the Ruby Pins also perform.

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