The Tuning Folk in Auckland came alive Saturday night as Texas-bred musician Shakey Graves, shook up the intimate venue.
"Alright, let's get weird", Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) told the crowd as he busted into the first song of the evening, The Perfect Parts, from latest album And The War Came.
Often a one-man-band, tonight he was accompanied by a hard hitting drummer, the pair feeding off each other and it felt as though they had already been rocking out all night.
Sweat dripped from his forehead as the Austin singer-songwriter picked out distortion-heavy notes on his guitar, putting a bluesy groove through his folk-rock music. With a sweetly raspy vocals reminiscent of early Kings Of Leon, his voice swung between raging choruses and subdued moments.
Each song burst with relentless energy. Even during gentler songs there was passion in each word sung, his guttural wails contrasting with the dreamy plucking of his guitar.
Cheers erupted to the opening notes of Roll the Bones. Now with the stage to himself, Shakey Gaves' stomped his feet on a kick drum and tambourine. "I'm really glad it started here" he told the wild audience, explaining that it was the first night of his tour.
Truly looking like he was enjoying each moment, Shakey Graves' banter with the room was on-form, telling stories, laughing with them and getting fun call and responses going, everyone there was completely on his side.
The slow romantic Chinatown, from his The Story of My Life EP, came crooned like a 1940s love song, featured some amazing mouth trumpeting - though the audience's own solo failed miserably in a hilarious mess of sound.
Playing with the tempo of his tinny twanged Southern-rock sound, he dropped songs down to half speed only to build them back up vigorously. Bringing "my boy Boo" back on the drums for the final numbers, Shakey Graves delved back into some grungier tracks, swinging his hips to the rough, gritty music as high pitched squeals sparked through the speakers.
Esme Patterson who sings on Dearly Departed was unavailable for the Auckland show, so two girls - coincidentally American - were welcomed onstage to sing her part. These ladies weren't the best singers really, but in the moment it didn't really matter.
In the encore, the muso came back out alone for more of his tambourine, kick-drum combo, vocals growling on Late July.
In short Shakey Graves was amazing and delivered a performance that his Kiwi fans won't soon forget.