When: Mon., Sept. 27, 8-11 p.m.
In 15 years, The Shivas have grown tight-knit as a group. Guitarist/singer Jared Molyneux, bassist Eric Shanafelt and drummer/singer Kristin Leonard have all been with the band since its earliest days; guitarist Jeff City, another high school friend, joined in 2017. Together they’ve learned to thread a seemingly impossible needle: They’ve honed and tightened their performances without sacrificing the element of surprise that makes each show special. And despite touring and recording for most of their lives, they speak about their project with humility, in the DIY vernacular of their Pacific Northwest upbringing. They talk up their own favorite bands, play all-ages shows as much as possible, and bring a sort of blue-collar humanism to the live performances they relish so much. “We just want to make people feel good,” Molyneux says. “We want them to forget they have to work tomorrow.” Kristin Leonard elaborates, “The live show is all about that feeling of catharsis—in ourselves and in everyone who comes out. We’re creating this safe space where we can all let go. Where we can exhale. And it feels really good when we are able to facilitate that.” So when Covid hit, the band knew it was time for transformation. After a settling realization that live music would be grounded for the foreseeable future, The Shivas booked significant studio time with Cameron Spies, who also produced the 2019 Dark Thoughts LP. They also transformed their lives: three of the band’s four members found work with a local nonprofit serving unhoused Portland residents. They became engaged in protests and fundraisers for social justice. They spent a whole summer actually living in Portland, settling into the city they had always called home, but that sometimes felt like a temporary stop between tours.
“We got into a more community-minded headspace,” Leonard says. “And that did give us some purpose. It felt cool to see everybody come together to stick up for what they believe in. It feels
like an incredibly formative last twelve months.”