Sheppard rocks Metro Detroit on midwest stop
By Camyle Cryderman
On a warm evening with the elusive blue moon rising in the sky outside, a crowd of nearly 200 people climbed the stairs into the Pike Room at the Crofoot in downtown Pontiac, Michigan to see the Australian band Sheppard perform. Consisting of six members, the 6-year-old band is made up of siblings George and Amy Sheppard, both on vocals and Emma Sheppard on bass guitar, friends Jay Bovino on guitar, Dean Gordon on drums and Michael Butler on guitar.
With the room packed from wall to wall, the temperature began to rise before the show even started. “The heat was the worst part of the concert” said attendee Kelsey Young, even the performers commented on the unbearable temps multiple times. That did not stop the concert from rocking though, “I still had a great night!” she added.
Kicking off the night at 7 p.m., were two opening acts. Local band Stereo Jane played first, warming up the crowd with their pop rock sound and fun group involvement. Following them, British boy band Lawson performed. With their edgy looks they seemed like a more mature, grunge version of One Direction and leaving all the ladies in the crowd wanting more. Both groups performed a set consisting of eight songs compared to Sheppard’s 11, making the night feel almost like three headliners rather than two openers before the main act; however, as soon as Sheppard stepped on the tiny stage, the crowd immediately picked up. After a slight lull in the room during a 20 minute transition from the previous group, Sheppard knew how to get everyone back on their feet. “The atmosphere was so lively,” stated concert goer Katherine Greene “it was a lot of fun.”
Almost immediately after their instruments were finally set up, Sheppard’s first song was “Halfway to Hell,” off of their debut album “Bombs Away.” Performing all but five of their songs, Sheppard really showed their musical range. Playing songs like the explicit “Find Someone,” and the lead from their first EP “Let Me Down Easy,” the band showed diverse styles of music, but they all seemed to have an uplifting message.
In the middle of their set, Sheppard even covered popular song from 2000 “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. While most of the crowd ranged in age from mid-teens to mid-20s, those in attendance who were over the age of 25 sang their hearts out in nostalgia. Afterwards Sheppard went back to their originals and finished the concert with songs written by the band members themselves.
Although the whole band worked together to create a great show for the crowd, original two members George and Amy Sheppard really stood out. With her bright blue hair and matching glittery ear piece, Amy sang lead vocals. She was constantly moving around the stage and genuinely looked as though she was enjoying herself unlike bass guitarist Emma Sheppard who looked awkward and nervous in front of the crowd. George also seemed to do it all, he sang, played the keyboard and played parts on the drums. His dancing and infectious smile got the crowd going, and he made everyone in the room feel welcomed.
With the audience close enough to the stage to literally reach out and touch the band, Sheppard took the time in between songs to interact with the crowd, making the night even more intimate and enjoyable. After their set ended, the band invited everyone in attendance to line up to meet them in their green room for pictures and autographs.
Ending the night with their hit song “Geronimo,” everyone who was tired from the three hour concert perked up. With sore feet and sweaty necks, the whole crowd was jumping and singing as loud as they could saying “Say Geronimo!” It really was the perfect end to a long, yet entertaining night.
Following their performance in Michigan, Sheppard headed to Chicago for Lalapalooza, and then continues on to finish their tour in Asia. Band member, George Sheppard, had a special place in his heart for Metro Detroit though. “You guys rock harder than the rest of the country, there is something about this place that you guys really appreciate your music” he said. “You give it your all and we definitely feel that.” The crowd and the bands fed off of each other to create an energy that was inviting and exciting, proving that Sheppard really was a concert to remember.