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Chuck Ragan / SHARKS

Chuck Ragan / SHARKS: live in Brooklynlive in Brooklyn (2011)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: frankiebos516frankiebos516
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ragan for president. Well, maybe not president, but I think I'm going to start a church in his name. I'll call it the House of Ragan. I'll found it in whatever town he's living in these days; that way he can perform at "services" at least every Sunday. The church's followers can be called "Ragani.


Ragan for president.

Well, maybe not president, but I think I'm going to start a church in his name. I'll call it the House of Ragan. I'll found it in whatever town he's living in these days; that way he can perform at "services" at least every Sunday. The church's followers can be called "Raganites," reclaiming the once very stigmatized term. He deserves this because his shows have the cathartic energy of a Baptist ceremony. The man knows no less than giving 110% percent and there isn't a single ounce of anything he does that's even remotely contrived. This rang truer than ever on May 16, 2011 at the Bell House, one of the best new venues in Brooklyn.

There were approximately 250 people out, which wasn't too shabby for a Monday night, an off-date for the tour he's currently on with Social Distortion. I walked in as a band called SHARKS was playing and was immediately un-enthused. They looked and sounded like leftover hacks from the New York Dolls era of Lower East Side, but they were nowhere near old enough to have lived that, so it was extra not cool. I was actually surprised that Chuck Ragan had a band like this opening the show for him. They were like the Loved Ones, minus what's good about the Loved Ones. [Sorry, we already decided this band rules. - Good Taste Ed.] BUT, once Chuck Ragan came out to sing a verse of Hot Water Music's "Rooftops" with them, they started to sound a whole lot different. Something changed. Chuck Ragan's magic touch had shifted the vibe. Then they played a Replacements song, which, please forgive me, I don't know for sure, but I think it was "Bastards of Young" [It was "Can't Hardly Wait". You know, the one that goes, repeatedly, "I can't wait. Hardly wait. I can't hardly wait." - Derp Ed.]. They did a decent job with it, too. By the time they finished up, I was no longer as apathetic.

After a half-hour or so of an intermission, Mr. Ragan took the stage and delivered one of the most passionate sets I'd ever seen him play. Accompanied by Digger Barns on upright bass and Jon Gaunt on fiddle, he started with a soul-filled 30-second intro song that I'd never heard before, which segued into "It's What You Will", at which point my friends and I started singing louder than him, and dancing more than everyone else in the place combined. By the time he got into the second full song, "Let It Rain", we were having a full-blown ho-down. This one pretty cute girl actually came up to me at one point and was like, "Wow, you guys like Chuck Ragan as much as I do," and was kinda giving me the sexy eyes. That was totally awesome until some dude, most likely her jealous boyfriend, came over to her and started making out with her like they were behind the bleachers in high school. Un-coolest dude at the show, by far.

My friends and I got a little tipsy that night, so some of the details are blurry, but I can say that it's barely worth going into how each song was because they were all AWESOME, AS ALWAYS, so much so that I couldn't even believe he'd played 21 songs by the time the night was over. It's only now that I'm going over my notes that I'm noticing this. The show just blew by.

I do have to say, though, that SHARKS totally redeemed themselves when they came out to join Chuck, Jon and Digger for an absolutely crushing rendition of the Ramones' "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg (My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down)", which happens to be my favorite Ramones song. They killed it. And then they kept killing it as they went into HWM's "Wayfarer", blowing the roof off of the place.

Closing things out with "The Boat" and "California Burritos" was a sure way to leave the crowd remembering what Chuck Ragan is all about. Earlier on in the show, in a bout of drunken inspiration, I walked up to the stage and simply asked Chuck to sing "California Burritos" with him. He said "yeah," but I figured he'd misheard or was just humoring me. Nope!! As he finished the first verse to the song I looked up and pointed to the other mic, flashing the "Is it cool?!?!" signal. It was cool. Super cool! I jumped up and got to close the show out with him, singing the last verse and chorus to the song. Actually, now that I'm thinking back, I think he may have played a song or two after that, but like I said–1. Beers, 2. I was in a daze of rock awesomeness, so I didn't write 'em down if he did.

For all those interested in co-founding the House of Ragan, feel free to leave some comments.

Set list:

  1. (Intro)
  2. It's What You Will
  3. Let It Rain
  4. Cut 'Em Down
  5. Geraldine
  6. [new song]
  7. Open Up and Wail
  8. Bleeder [Alkaline Trio cover]
  9. Don't Cry
  10. Do You Pray?
  11. Ole Diesel
  12. Between the Lines
  13. Symmetry
  14. For Goodness Sake
  15. [new song]
  16. For Broken Ears
  17. Bonzo Goes to Bitburg (My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down) [Ramones cover by SHARKS, f/ Chuck Ragan]
  18. Wayfarer [Hot Water Music cover by members of SHARKS/Ragan's backing band, with Chuck Ragan on lead vocals and backups from Crime in Stereo's Kristian Hallbert]
  19. ---
  20. The Boat
  21. California Burritos

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
frankiebos516 (June 4, 2011)

Whoooooa. Drama. Just got a chance to take a look at all of these lovely comments. First, I'll admit that maybe I wasn't clear enough when I paralleled SHARKS' look and sound to the NY Dolls era of the LES. I didn't necessarily means the NY Dolls specifically and I should have probably just wrote like "the 70's punk rock era in NY." Second, my bad with saying that it was Digger Barnes on bass as opposed to Joe Ginsberg. Third, in regards to "Can't Hardly Wait", I'm sorry that I forgot which song it was that they played. As I mentioned, I wasn't really playing all that much attention. I just remembered that it was a better known song by the band.

Now, moving onto some of your reading disabilities and questionable taste. SHARKS - I'm not sure if all of you guys out there who think I completely "trashed" the band continued reading as I told you how I warmed up to them and how they came out and "killed it" at the end, using words like "redeemed" to describe the scenario. That doesn't constitute completely "trashing" a band. As far as SHARKS' sound goes, it seems that a few of you are in agreement with me here when it comes to them being over-hyped. I think "Bud-boomer" said it best when he called them "Uninteresting". I listened to the band's recordings after the show and they do not make me feel the way I felt when I first heard Sink or Swim as the reviewer who reviewed the SHARKS record for the site claims they did for him. I like the Gaslight Anthem. That is a band that looks and sounds retro in ways, but they are succeeding with it because they write good songs that stick in your head. SHARKS haven't written songs that good. I hope they do. I'd love to love 'em, but their extreme hype seems unwarranted to me. And Brian (editor), "we" did not decided that this band is awesome. Some people on the website did. I wasn't one of them. I do respect your taste, though. I like you as a person and actually enjoyed your sarcasm here. Which brings me to the next thing I'd like to say...

Take a joke. There are a lot of intentionally sarcastic portions of the review. If you want to read some of my more "professional" writings, read the other reviews I've written for the site (especially the After The Fall one, because there's a band with true talent and heart that you should all be paying attention to.) This one was intentionally written the way it was. I just wanted to have some fun. That was my reason for including the situation with the girl, because it was funny. I didn't come on to her. She came up to me and at one point actually took my notepad out of my hand and started writing something (indecipherable) on it before her guy friend came back. As far as being "unprofessional" because I was "tipsy" - again, take a joke. You have a complete set list (minus the last song or two) in this review. Think about it. The other guy who reviewed one of the shows on this tour didn't even give you that much. So, "thegreatestmanalive", take it easy. Feel free to do the same, "superskabro", as well as the rest of you punk rock police out there.

bigstar (May 31, 2011)

thought "Can't Hardly Wait" was "Bastards Of Young" also think Sharks sound and look like the NY Dolls?!?!

Allular (May 30, 2011)

If a review's bad enough that the editor has to interject on their behalf because of their bad taste and unprofessional writing, chances are this site shouldn't publish it.

bud_boomer (May 30, 2011)

this sharks band doesn't seem that bad...just completely uninteresting. i don't know, to me they sound like if jawbreaker had lost all of their edge and tried to become the foo fighters or something.

urf (May 29, 2011)

Let's hear more about these sexy eyes.

AK3punk (May 28, 2011)

Can't wait to Sharks on their Canadian tour w/ Mocking Bird Wish Me Luck. I stopped reading after he trashed Sharks. Listen to the band before you trash them...

kylewagoner (May 28, 2011)

SHARKS are fucking excellent.

superskabro (May 28, 2011)

wow. what a sad review. I may have differing opinions about your taste in music (I am quite impressed with the Sharks and, while I still admire Chuck Ragan as a person and a musician, I find his solo material to be a huge let-down.) but the fact of the matter is that your review was completely unprofessional. Talking about how tipsy your friends were? A girl made "sexy eyes" at you? This is the lamest review on punknews.org since that 12-year-old street punk reviewed the first Rancid EP ( http://www.punknews.org/review/10007 ).

riff-ter (May 28, 2011)

your all impressed way to easily...the sharks BLOW.

killtaker (May 28, 2011)

Not a great review but the snide Editors comments are worse.

laingalaing (May 28, 2011)

did you wank ragan off after the show by anychance?

bastard_squad (May 28, 2011)

I really like the Sharks record. Would love to have been there for this. That Ramones song is in my top 10. I would have enjoyed that cover.

eatbicycles (May 28, 2011)

making out with one's lady friend at a chuck ragan show is as fun as screaming along with chuck, almost. what's the problem? she wadn't into you anyway, buddy.

skolarx (May 28, 2011)

so is this a joke review? can't remember seeing more than one editor's note in any review or any so sarcastic

not sure that SHARKS could sound (or look that matter) any less like the Dolls

thereveling (May 28, 2011)

Ew.

sailin_on (May 28, 2011)

SHARKS = the exact opposite of how you described them. They're unique, inspired and they rattle my bones. I haven't felt this much love for a new band in such a long time. You should give them another listen.

thegreatestmanalive (May 28, 2011)

As soon as I read " giving me the sexy eyes" followed by "her jealous boyfriend" I realized you are the exact opposite of everything I love about punk music. You're a douche

TSOL (May 27, 2011)

This reads more like a blog rant than a good review

rebeccaa (May 27, 2011)

it wasn't digger on bass, it was joe ginsberg

bigstar (May 27, 2011)

you obviously have no clue what the New York Dolls look or sound like because Sharks do not sound or look like them in anyway whatsoever.

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