Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Shu marks 30th with album & concert Sat. at The Park in Glens Falls

By Jason Irwin, Chronicle Rock Around the Block

Shu, then & now! — Bob Smith, seated, with (from left) Todd Haviland, Matty Carl, Brian Mull and Eric Hamell, in the studio where they recorded their first album.

A lot of things are about to come full circle for Glens Falls’ original jam-funk-ska-rock outfit Shu.

Shu is celebrating 30 years as “a band that has become family,” they say on their Website, “for the five of us and for the thousands of free-spirited and groovy peeps of all ages who have stuck with us on this long strange trip.”

If you don’t know Shu (and you should), these guys have been a major player in the Upstate NY original music scene. They toured the Northeast heavily, especially on the college circuit in the 1990s.

And as I know well, keeping a band together for 30 years is an incredible feat.

What I really admire about Shu, beyond their abundance of collective and individual talent, is: They are our music scene’s quintessential metaphor for friendship.

The members: Shu frontman and guitarist Bob Smith, also of The Distractions duo, his solo project The Static Dive, and as the one-time author of The Chronicle’s music column Glens Falls Rock.

Todd Haviland plays bass and is the other half of The Distractions. Eric Hamell plays drums, Matty Carl saxophone, and Bryan Mull is lead guitar.

They all write, and they all sing.

The full history on their Website is worth a read.

At a Shu event, to this day, there is always this sense of family within and surrounding the band that is, in my experience, unparalleled.

The “vibes” are strong with these ones.

I’ve been friends with Bob Smith for pretty much as long as he’s had his group together, and we’ve shared more than a few industry-related overlaps over the years.

He’s always a fun guy to talk to.

“I just realized that I’ve been playing music for my entire life,” Bob says. “That’s the thing with us…we never stopped playing. Some people get older and fall out of it. We just never stopped. We are the best we’ve ever sounded right now, in 2023.”

He adds “If we sounded anything like this back in the 90s, we would have been rock stars.”

During our interview, he also felt compelled to remind me that back in the day, I once myself actually auditioned —unsuccessfully — for Shu. We’ve always found fun tossing friendly jabs at each other. Apparently, the game is still on.

Shu’s combination anniversary-album release show is Saturday, April 15, at 8 p.m. at the fabulous Park Theater in Glens Falls, exactly 30 years to the day from when the band formed.

Suggested admission is $10.

Their new 7-song original recording, “Armchair Prophets,” was produced with exactly the same crew, band and studio that created their 1995 debut “Fanagalo.”

Now a local classic, the record was produced at Sweetfish Studios in Argyle, then operated by renowned industry vet Doug Ford. Much credit goes also to their “6th member” and longtime friend, the award-winning engineer Marc Fuller, of Edie Road Studios.

Mr. Fuller engineered the new record as well, and Mr. Ford mastered it at the same studio, now called Skyfall Recording Studio and operated by Brandon Kapoor of Saratoga Springs.

“The importance of this anniversary to us is monumental,” Bob says. “It’s more than an excuse to play a show or release an album. We’ve spent more than half of our lives together. It’s crazy…I haven’t done anything in my life that comes even close to approaching this kind of longevity. I couldn’t be closer to these guys. We’re a family.”

Info: shu30.com, or staticdive.com/shu.

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