My noble quest to shine a spotlight on Salem’s young, up-and-coming bands continues this week with Showtigers. This one was my first “cold call.” I didn’t know anyone in the band and I have never seen them play. I saw that their upcoming show is their EP release, so I figured that would be a suffcient ice-breaker. I did listen to their previous 2016 EP “Passing Crowd” and found that they are certainly worthy.
And then, one of those little affirmations occurred: I went to see Kylie Burbank play at Casa Rojas and Jared Richert – the singer/guitarist from Showtigers – was opening for her with a short solo set. Ah, sweet serendipity. I got to hear a different side of Richert’s musical tastes. Showtigers is a riff-heavy, fuzz-guitaring, in-your-face affair; but Jared’s personal selections were much more melodic and even jazz-infused. And I really like his voice. He says people often say he sounds like Geddy Lee – but they’re wrong. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Geddy, but Richert’s voice has a sweeter sound that pairs nicely with Showtigers’ almost raunchy, garage-grunge guitars.
I met Richert and the rest of the guys at The Beanery for a chat: Jared plays guitar, bass and lead vocals; Jake Hammer plays bass, guitar and backing vocals; and Sterling Sachs is the drummer. Jared and Jake write all the songs, and whoever writes the song dictates who plays the guitar – with the other playing the bass.
They got together in 2012 as “Silver and Bullets,” a name that Jake was very much attached to. Then they were the Rickety Showtigers, because of how nervous and shaky they were whenever they’d play live (adorbz). Their friends convinced them the word “rickety” wasn’t very rock n roll, so they dropped it. They started out playing White Stripes covers, an influence you can definitely hear in their music, but not ripping them off. It’s always interesting to me who the younger crowd is influenced by. I was especially curious about Showtigers because they sound so different than other younger bands I’ve listened to. I’m used to the shoegazers, the indie pops, and the Green Day homages. But Showtigers has almost a nostalgia reminiscent of T. Re. I even get a Todd Rundgren hit on the middle eight of “Gibson Girl” from their upcoming EP, “Smoke and Mirrors.”
When I asked them about their influences, Jake said it would take a Venn diagram to show how he and Jared’s tastes were different and the same. So, I drew a damned Venn diagram and we filled it in. Some bands I knew – Against Me, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Strokes, and some I didn’t – Spencer King, Sondra Lerche and Band of Skulls (I had to do some homework for those). But none of these influences sounded like what I heard on their EP. So I asked them what they listened to when they were little. Here we go: Black Sabbath, AC/DC, VanHalen, Def Leppard and Scorpions. That started to make more sense to me. Showtigers does have a touch of the classic rock feel, but stays modern with Jared’s lilting, vulnerable vocals.
We talked about being an underage band in Salem (Richert is 22). They’ve had luck in playing in over 21 clubs, but Jake and Sterling can only play and then leave. They’re definitely looking forward to the end of summer when they’ll all be able to stay for the whole show. In fact, quite a few underage artists in town will be turning 21 in late summer. We came up with an idea for a “We Can Finally Play at a Bar Festival™” this fall. Keep a lookout for that!
Showtigers will be playing their EP release show on Saturday, June 3rd at 7pm at the Dance Hall at 241 State Street. They’ll be playing with No Me Gusta and Sadgasm (their first show). It’s all-ages and it’s free. Here’s another great chance to go out and see Salem’s massively talented younger set. Do it.