Monday, June 19 at 8:00pm (doors at 7:30) $8
Swellshark is a Chicago-based duo incorporating smart lyrics, textural drumming, electric ukulele, beatboxing and the occasional mouth trumpet. At times big and intricate and at others quiet and intimate, the resultant sound crackles with both joy and intensity. Members Shélan O’Keefe and Henry Kellam met at a Lord of the Rings-themed potluck in 2012, and an unlikely musical partnership formed when Kellam began playing jazz and metal-inspired drums with O’Keefe’s confessional lyrics and ukulele riffs. With musical guides such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Death Cab for Cutie and Kishi Bashi, the pair continues to search for unique auditory inspiration, most recently finding it on their adventures throughout Iceland.
In October 2014, the pair made their live debut opening for anti-folk legend (and long-time Swellshark hero) Jeffrey Lewis at Schuba's Tavern in Chicago. Since then, the duo have released two self-published EPs, played with local and international support at various Chicago venues such as Subterranean and the Promontory and recorded their first full-length album (set to release on May 12, 2017.) Currently, Swellshark travels the U.S. in the Swellmobile to promote their upcoming record, In The Beginning. Having just completed their route through the South, the duo is gearing up for both a West and East Coast tour later this summer.
“Chicago-based duo Swellshark are going to release their debut album “In The Beginning” and even if the folk-pop and ukulele things rarely surprise us, they have succeeded in catching us with their latest track Numb + Insensible.” -High Clouds Magazine (Belgian Music Blog)
“Henry Kellam (bass/drums) and Shélan O’Keefe (vocals/ukulele) are the Chicago-based duo behind Swellshark and Ransom is their first single since last year’s Songs from the Island EP… Playfully charming, Ransom displays what the duo have in store for the rest of the album— a fun backyard dance party surrounded by jubilant smiling faces.” -Ohestee (Toronto Music Blog)
“I was lucky enough to see Swellshark live back in January…They blew me away— they’re absolutely killer… You have Henry, who is their one-man rhythm section. He’s just an incredible bassist… And he’s also a killer drummer… The other half of Swellshark is Shélan… She’s the lead vocalist, plays the ukulele— does amazing things with the ukulele— stuff I’ve never heard before, and I’ve been around the musical block” -Out of the Feedback Loop (U.S. Podcast)