“Must be Seen to be Understood”
KEXP Presents SHT GHST @ The Tractor Tavern, w/Pickwick
November 30, 2018
By Andrew Lowe
“It was weird… but I liked it.” That was the most common phrase I heard at my first SHT GHST show. I couldn’t agree more.
I rung in the last the last month of 2018 watching the group open for fellow locals Pickwick, a soulful indie rock band that struck me as having more than just a tinge of Jamiroquai influence, at The Tractor Tavern.
For those unaware, SHT GHST is a two-piece project where the performers – SHT GHST 1 and SHT GHST 2 – wear all white with spiral glasses. The masks don’t take the man out of the music, “if anything, it is the opposite,” SHT GHST 1 told me after the show. “I want the mask to assist people in connecting with me.”
The show was a combination of live (drums, guitars, lead vocals) and sampled music (synths, bass, backing vocals) with visuals ranging from cats to crazy spiral patterns and the performance artists. Taken at face value, this might seem like a lot of pomp for an opening act, but I think it is great to see something new and odd in Seattle’s music scene. Bring on the weird!
The music recalls Talking Heads/David Byrne, Syd Barett era Pink Floyd, and electronica a la Daft Punk. You can tell a lot is going on under the hood. With only two performers and loops, it makes sense that the music is a little repetitive. I don’t think that will be the case with the band’s future work.
The Tractor show was the first time SHT GHST performed with auxiliary performance artists, including a contortionist and a dancer who hula-hooped and used juggling pins like air traffic control on someone’s sweet acid trip. When asked if they were going big for any reason, SHT GHST 1 said: “I find it fun to mix things up, make them bigger and more psychedelic as we evolve.” They seem like an act you’d find in a circus from outer space.
I’d be doing you a disservice if I over-explained here. SHT GHST is an act you must see to understand, or fail to understand but enjoy as one weird whole. Here’s the band’s high-quality video of the Tractor show.
What’s next for SHT Ghost? Likely the continued expansion of both sight and sound as the project evolves further into an odd and captivating orchestra.