Shawn Fogel came to Chicago last night to open for Ben Lee at Martyrs. He came straight after playing a west coast tour with his two bands, Golden Bloom and Neutral Uke Hotel. On this night Shawn played alone, with only his acoustic guitar as accompaniment, and he delivered a forty minute slice of pop heaven. It took some in the audience a few songs to get into the set, but I think by the end there had been a bunch of new fans created.
The setlist was a good mix of the old and new, with maybe a little bit more coming from Golden Bloom’s debut full-length Fan The Flames. He kicked things off with a beautiful version of “Theme For An Adventure At Sea,” and I was hooked from the first note. Of course, I’m a bit biased. Golden Bloom was one third of my favorite show from 2011 when they played at Schubas with The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library and finished it up as Neutral Uke Hotel. Shawn had his whole band with him then, so this was still a new experience for me. One I’m so happy to have shared with a pretty decent audience.
The crowd really seemed to latch on to Shawn toward the end of the show. He played a song called “Minute of Fame,” which he wrote in Chicago and is about former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. That song got a lot of laughs and was much appreciated by all. The other big moment was when the crowd added some “Sha Na Na’s” at Shawn’s request. Crowd participation is a tough thing to get on a Monday night, and it sounded like almost everyone joined in.
The highlight for me, and probably anyone else in the crowd who is a fan, was when he finally played “Doomsday Devices” at the very end of his set. It’s such a great song. I ended up buying the vinyl 7″ before I left.
I talked to Shawn a bit before the show, and he said they’re trying to work something out so the full band can return this summer. I really hope that happens. As good as Shawn is solo, I like the full band show. He has an amazing guitar player that really shreds, and the songs feel more complete. You would be a fool to miss that show. I will be updating everyone whenever I hear a solid date.