Since forming in 2014, Philadelphia-based rock quintet Sheer Mag created a well-deserved buzz across a series of EPs built around their irresistible fusion of 1970s classic rock, guitar-driven hard rock, and hook-laden garage rock, wrapped around socially conscious lyrics, and delivered with a DIY punk aesthetic. By 2017, with the release of their acclaimed debut album, Need to Feel Your Love, their sound had evolved and broadened, adding elements of funk, soul, disco, and more, all without softening the hardened rock riffs at their core. Earlier this year saw Sheer Mag release their favorably received sophomore album, A Distant Call. With a more polished production, the album continued the maturity and expansion of their sound by adding a dose of metal and 80’s indie pop to the mix.
after the release of A Distant Call, Sheer Mag hit the tour trail for a
summer run of headlining dates across North America. The band have been logging the miles, with
the tour continuing into the fall. We
caught up with them at Motorco Music Hall in Durham NC, as the band was
finishing up their US run before heading to Europe.
The Friday night crowd at Motorco were primed for a good time and Sheer Mag did their damnedest to fuel the weekend revelry. The band hit the stage and immediately began to pummel the audience with “Steel Sharpens Steel,” the opening track from A Distant Call. Rather than being focused primarily on the new album, the setlist was culled evenly from across their catalog of releases. Frontwoman Tina Halladay was a force of nature as she drove the proceedings with her gritty, forceful, and dynamic vocals. She exuded a swagger that demanded attention as she wandered the stage engaging both the crowd and her bandmates. Not to be outdone, the band, led by the stylish and crunchy playing of lead-guitarist Kyle Seely, and underpinned by the rhythm guitar of Matt Palmer and the steady bass lines of Kyle’s brother Hart Seely, were a tight and cohesive unit. They provided a big raw sound that careened along a ragged edge without feeling too calculated or excessive. The performance maintained the energy of the band’s initial salvo and was matched each step of the way by the enthusiasm of the appreciative crowd.
show fell to Richmond Virginia’s post-punk rockers Sensual world, followed by
the infectious trash-pop punk of Cincinnati’s Tweens.