Shed are the future of metal/funk
by Joe Longone
Shed are chunk-o-licious! I caught them last week at the lighter
and more breezy looking Sir Morgan's Cove (nice paint job, guys!). And I was
rocked off my bar stool. I didn't expect much but, boy, was I surprised. Their
metal-core/funk music has had a strong hold on local undergrounds for years,
but they are so much more. In one brief 40-minute set, Shed not only
distinguished themselves in my eyes, but showed me, quite clearly, where the
best of the genre is headed in the near future.
I've tried to understand bands like these guys who have taken the stage in
past. The typical example is of a lead singer who has a screaming hemorrhage
while the band around him make as much noise as possible, literally raping
their instruments. This nondescript display of anger continues until the lead
singer shouts "Peace" to the audience and hops off the stage. At this point,
I'm asking myself, what in the hell was that? Shed have explained, if only to
me, how to balance anger with silence -- a dynamic missing in other bands.
There is a sense of soul and rhythmic melody that gives their songs a special
The band's success, in part, comes from their lead singer and songwriter,
David Lysik. He is the consummate frontman who orchestrates each number by
bringing out every ounce of his emotional integrity. Nearly half of their
lyrics are delivered in a calm, yet dry, fashion. It reminded me of the way Lou
Reed sings. The other half of the words are delivered by Lysik in an all- out
scream. But at least you understand where the rage comes from.
I don't want to exclude the other members; they show a powerful cohesion that
is hard to miss. Bassist Mario Fantasia and drummer Ricci Fantasia are
brothers; guitarists Fred Pearson and Dino Paolantonio have been friends since
childhood. The four started in Providence about three years ago, recruiting
Lysik soon after.
I call Lysik up to tell him how impressed I am with his band. I ask him what
makes Shed different from so many other bands.
"If we didn't have soul, I wouldn't want to be a part of it," he says. "I've
always liked James Brown; sometimes I think of myself as the James Brown of
metal music. If the audience can connect with the soul on stage, the songs will
come across so much more real and solid."
Lysik wears his heart on his sleeve on Unashamed (their self-released
debut). On "Home," their opening track, Lysik sings, "We go through the motions
through our lives bound up, ripped up, revved up." In the chorus, he speaks in
a quiet and vulnerable tone, "The machine is me" before screaming, "I'm, going
home." He doesn't admit that "home" is death, but in the band's song "Y.A.D.C."
he does say, "I'm not afraid to die."
A line in their song "Lullaby" defines the overriding message in the nine
selections offered on Unashamed. In it Lysik sings, "In order to be
totally pure and clean I must cleanse." For Shed, the songs could be their
catharsis. Each number is riddled with pain and grief -- maybe performing them
Lysik wrote all the material for their record, but he closes up when I ask
about his wounded past, saying only, "I see these songs as my redemption.
People don't have to know particular names to know what I'm singing about. The
times that I'm on stage and the 10 minutes after are the high point of my life
Shed will be going back to the studio later this summer to start recording a
new 12-song collection that could be out as early as Christmas. According to
Lysik, the new record will be even darker but more danceable. Local bands and
other noise lovers shouldn't miss these guys when they appear with Nothingface,
7th Rail Crew, and Staind next Friday, August 8, at the Espresso Bar.