The really cool thing about being part of a cult following for a band that never got monstrously famous is that sometimes the lead singer has a side project that he plays at bars, and it’s perfectly normal to go drink with him and his wife and see him play for like fifty people. (I have no idea if that’s an accurate guesstimate. Just roll with it.)
Shawn Harris of the Matches put out a solo album (Leaves LA) under the name St. Ranger earlier in 2016. He was playing “Crowchella,” a show at a bar in LA called the Thirsty Crow, and I was already hoping to catch two other shows in the LA area that weekend, so it was a no brainer.
I dragged my friends Unicorn and Panda with me, and we ran into Shawn and his wife Lauren outside the bar. I can’t remember if he was surprised to see me or not. He knows I have a tendency to show up places. But I told him I had taken a late bus from San Francisco the night before and introduced him to Panda. He’d already met Unicorn at the Matches shows in June.
“I like this crew you’re bringing out.”
Panda tried to buy him a drink, but since he’s a performer, he was already getting them for free. Valiant effort. But Shawn did let me and my boys try his drink. It was a Hell Or High Watermelon, and it was pretty good.
Of course my LA Matches fans started showing up. Another Shawn, and Ali, who’s made many music videos for Shawn (Harris), including the Matches’ “Life of a Match” and Fortress Social Club’s “Wherever She Go.”
Ali upon seeing me: “What the fuck?!”
The venue was super small, and the stage was actually just a booth in the back that had been transformed for the day’s occasion. We didn’t pay much attention to the first performer, but our little group crowded around the stage for St. Ranger.
He played a decent amount of Leaves LA, and it was super impressive how he made all the sounds on his own. It wasn’t just an acoustic set, he was actually recreating all the songs live and it was really awesome. I think loop pedals probably played a big role in that.
He dedicated his last song to his friends who came out, and he called me out by name. (Cue me fangirling just a little bit.) It was The Matches’ “Salty Eyes.”
Unicorn knew the drill, and we waltzed. We were the only ones waltzing, but I didn’t care. It’s good to have friends who’ll waltz with you and not care who’s watching. It’s a tradition at this point and he gets me.
Before Shawn even took the stage, I convinced Panda to buy a vinyl of Leaves LA. (It wasn’t hard, I just told him he should, and he did it.) After the set, Shawn signed it for him.
I got my usual selfie with Shawn before we had to run out the door and head to yet another show. Twenty One Pilots was also on the agenda this day.
Leaves LA is a really unique album, and it was awesome getting to see so much of it played live. I highly recommend checking it out and catching St. Ranger when he plays a house show near you. No matter how many times I see him or talk to him, I’ll never get tired of seeing this man play.