Walking into the Rock and Roll Hotel on Sunday night, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was an all-ages show, and I knew the Shiny Toys Guns had sold out what is among my favorite venues in DC to catch a show or grab a drink with friends at the rooftop bar.
The stylish venue on H Street was filled with sparkled legwarmers and gloves, rhinestones and jewels glued on eyelashes, custom-made t-shirts and signs, and a few proudly painted faces. I am always amazed to see fans; real fans come out and show their support for the music they love in all their unique ways. What is even better is to see people of all ages coming out to see this amazing band on a Sunday night, a school night no less. The STGs had packed the venue tighter then I have ever seen it before. Just before the doors opened, fans young and old, men and women, teenage couples, and even mother and daughters waited patiently to be let in.
After hurricane Sandy shut down most of the East Coast last weekend, Shiny Toy Guns extended their tour and came back to DC one week after their originally scheduled tour date. Even better then that, the band was collecting food and supply donations for hurricane victims in New York and New Jersey who are largely still without power. The bandmates in STG are literally using their own tour bus to deliver these supplies to people and families in need in the areas most affected by the record storm.
The band is winding down the last leg of their current tour promoting their new studio effort, III. After the release of We are Pilots in 2006, vocalist Carah Faye Charnow left the band and explored other musical projects with the Swedish band Versant. The charismatic singer returned to Shiny Toy Guns in 2011 for the band’s third studio album, aptly titled III, which was released in stores a little more than a week ago.
Carah Faye, with bandmates keyboardist/bassist Jeremy Dawson, guitar/vocalist Chad Petree and drummer Mikey Martin, gave a more-than-memorable performance to a packed house of screaming fans. Her energetic, well-written, and highly charged vocals are just the cherry on top of the well-fused trio behind her. Dawson’s keyboards are the driving force behind this steady, sometimes dance-driven, medley of tone. On top of that, you have Martin’s pounding rock-style drumming. Last but not least, you have Petree, a pretty amazing guitarist whose indie-style playing ties the whole thing together with melodic riffs.
The Shiny Toy Guns were pretty amazing to see live. Before Sunday, I had never seen them in person, but had just streamed their music online like everyone else. Now if they come to my town, I will not miss them. This was one of the most fun shows I have seen all year. Their performance and energy are part of the reason why watching bands play live on YouTube is just not good enough. This band knows how to have a good time on stage, and they captivate their audience during the entire set.
With Carah back in action, with a new album out, and with the unbelievable, unrelenting stage presence they have, the Shiny Toy Guns have arrived again. This band will make big waves in the music world.
Photos by Richie Downs