Shannon White Live @ The Boiler Room

As Poole’s Harbour Festival rocked into the night, the Boiler Room hosted Shannon White. To around twenty-five people she delivered a tight selection of tunes, mostly original, others covers of songs which have influenced her including Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Radio Nowhere’. On her originals, her lyrics were fairly simple and direct but delivered with high energy and a flawless, confident voice.  

In terms of style, White’s music is classic indie with elements of folk and punk – the latter manifesting in heavy strumming and boisterous vocals with a distinctly British accent. This makes for a more entertaining dynamic than many acoustic acts, which can lack ‘oomph’.  

There was a relaxed atmosphere, and once or twice White erred when remembering old material – once saving the song by segueing into a cover with similar chords. She joked about these little accidents, which was affable and added to the charm.

The songs about White’s life, anxieties and pursuit of the rock ‘n’ roll dream were quite clear, but her more political material was more abstract, and happily there was no evangelising between tracks, which might have grated. The main message of tracks such as ‘Pushed it Too Far this Time’ seems to be things are pretty messed up at the moment, and wherever you stand you can’t disagree with that.

No matter who you are, you cannot play too many single guitar acoustic songs before they start to become limited. White addressed this by bringing on her significant other – a tall rocker with an impressive beard and a Motorhead shirt – to play a few covers with her. He accompanied on a second guitar, and on one track White swapped her six-string for the eight strings of a mandolin. The energy was ramped up in an Irish direction with the Dropkick Murphys’ ‘Rose Tattoo’ and the finale, ‘Whisky in the Jar’ by Thin Lizzy.  

I was impressed with the first Boiler Room gig I experienced. It’s a great idea from the independent record store, with all money (an affordable £5) going to the artists, and fills a much needed gap in the market for live music in Poole. I look forward to Clemencie on 26th August.

(Written by Ed Pond)