Sheppard, making a leap with the song “Geronimo.”

Sheppard_DSC1575

Yes, I’m sure by now, most of you have heard the mega international hit song by these newcomers, it’s hard to miss, it may be one of the catchiest tracks on the planet. But, it requires something much more than just a hit song to create a successful group of musicians and I these guys have it; certainly more than one-hit wonders.

Sheppard_IMG5607

Sheppard_DSC1549

Sheppard_IMG5540

This group has a combination of traits that I admire and can only be found in a handful of acts, the vocal harmony of siblings, multi-instrumentalists and shared duty in the lead vocalists position.

Sheppard_DSC1552

Sheppard_IMG5474

Sheppard_DSC1778

Captivating for sure, fronted by George, Amy and Emma Sheppard. And not only do their voices match in a heavenly fashion but instrumentally they were also in sync.

Sheppard_DSC1351

Sheppard_DSC1629

Sheppard_DSC1522

Presented as a six-piece band it can be a challenge to reproduce certain songs in a consistent manner, especially with their 3 part vocal harmonies. Which obviously, is incrementally more challenging to perform than with two voices.

Sheppard_IMG5402

Sheppard_DSC1827

Sheppard_IMG5436

Sheppard hail from Australia, the Brisbane based band formed in 2009 and markets themselves as being a quirky collection of siblings and friends; with a left-of-centre take on pop. And they were playfully interacting on stage to back up the statement, with Amy and George constantly changing positions depending on what instruments the song required. Which can be a stage/lighting managers worst nightmare and requires more thought by the performers to know where they should be next. But they pulled it off, maybe not seamless transitions but pretty slick.

Sheppard_DSC1384

Sheppard_IMG5424

Sheppard_DSC1527

I could hear the ear splitting screams from the other end of the mall as I arrived late. I missed the first half of the show, the notorious Manila traffic strikes again. The producers were accommodating, forgave my lateness and granted me access to the pit area, thank you Michael Chugg.

Sheppard_DSC1274

Sheppard_IMG5452

Sheppard_IMG5405

I was impressed with the overall performance, yeah they may not have been perfect the whole time but certainly kept it rocking. It was obvious they were having fun and that energy transferred to the totally fired up crowd. The sound system was adequate and the vocals were smooth, which fit in perfectly with the songs, which have an abundance of “ohhs and ahhs” in them.

Sheppard_IMG5372

Sheppard_DSC1483

Sheppard_DSC1836

If given a choice of photo-pit access for the first three songs or the last three songs, I would almost always choose the latter. So my tardiness, although uncharacteristic of myself, may have been an advantage here. Usually, when you photograph a band for the first three, the musicians aren’t really warmed yet, still getting in the grove, so to speak. Here no time was wasted, when I arrived they were already in high gear; my first image was of George, ringing out his drenched-with-sweat t-shirt which he tossed it into the crowd at the end the show.

Sheppard_DSC1252

Sheppard_DSC1494

Sheppard_DSC1617

I’ve also conducted an informal survey, approximatley 93% of all people surveyed between the ages of 18 and 32, recognised their song, “Geronimo”. And that’s even with me singing it, a worse than awful, although spunky, rendition; I assure you. What grabbed my attention though, was the high percentage of folks able to recognise this track, even in the upper demographics, basically even the relatively “old” people knew the song.

Sheppard_IMG5395

Sheppard_DSC1718

Sheppard_DSC1769

Interestingly though, only about 12% of people surveyed could actually name the band. Not surprising results I suppose, for up-and-comers in any field of profession. You’ve probably heard the song, so now maybe a smidgen of background information is in order.

Sheppard_DSC1568

Sheppard_DSC1371

Sheppard_IMG5561

They grew up in Papua New Guinea, an island off the coast of Australia and you can hear the cultural influence the group’s sound, kind of beachy-tropical musical vibe, “Pacific” indie pop some call it. It was after relocating to Australia that the three siblings began discovering their unique musical talent and ability to play a variety of musical instruments.

Sheppard_DSC1590

Sheppard_DSC1479

Sheppard_IMG5568

Sheppard have amassed a strong international following and are constantly developing in their local market, infiltrating the music scene with their alternative indie pop sound. The band have a growing fan base of over 110,000 Facebook fans across the world. To date they have written and produced over 30 songs, and continue to impress audiences with a youthful exuberance.

Sheppard_DSC1669

Sheppard_DSC1273

Sheppard_DSC1681

Geronimo was, at one point, was the year’s top-selling singles in Australia, the first independent Australian artist to hit number one on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) charts. And on Spotify, the track has been listened to a staggering number of times, over one hundred million! With another of their hit songs, “Let Me Down Easy” so far, clocking in at over three million hits.

Sheppard_DSC1547

Sheppard_IMG5471

Sheppard_DSC1739

Not much in the way of hoopla, no complex lighting schemes or dazzling outfits like many of the pop artists of today. Much more down to earth. Sure, Amy sports a happy shade of green hair but other than that, not much craziness, it was more about the music.

Sheppard_IMG5382

Sheppard_DSC1692

Sheppard_DSC1801

By the final song Geronimo, of course, would it have been anything else? The group was able to nail the punchy, staccato intro and the crowd erupted as soon as they heard the first few notes. It was a night of radio-friendly music that kept the audience rocking, catchy stuff; you couldn’t stop yourself from bopping to the beat of the sound. Maybe not a perfect score as far as stage presence goes, they seemed a bit uncertain at times but what would you expect from a fledgling group.

Sheppard_DSC1373

Sheppard_DSC1824

Sheppard_DSC1422

Like the lyrics to their hit song imply, this young band is on the edge of something great, ready to make a leap. You’re only as good as your last performance some may say, but what your next gig is, also speaks volumes. The band is off to open for Kodaline, a talented group of blokes from Ireland, another of my favourite newcomers. Then off to Osaka Japan to perform in the Summer Sonic Music Festival, so stepping it up. And if this mall show in Manila is any indication, they’ll do better than good, certainly ready for the big time.

Sheppard_IMG5513

I wish them all the best on their journey, hopefully I’ll get the chance to photograph them again someday, and this time not be late! Keep an eye on this band, I’d say they have no place to go but up. Thanks going out to MMI LIVE and Chugg Entertainment, distributed by MGM.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s