All photos by Nate Watters
A couple weeks ago I managed to catch an amazing show at El Corazon that, judging by the number of people in attendance, was either not interesting enough for many people or not advertised very well. Greg Attonito (vocalist for the legendary Bouncing Souls) and his wife, Shanti Wintergate, Kevin Seconds (of punk band Seven Seconds), and Kepi Ghoulie (of the Groovie Ghoulies) joined forces and played some great acoustic tunes. It’s not too often that four punk legends get together in one room and throw down some tunes on acoustic guitars (and a ukulele…and a harmonica) for crowds of about twenty people.
Growing up, I listened constantly to bands like the Bouncing Souls and Seven Seconds. While I never really got in to the Groovie Ghoulies’ music, Kepi played a great set backed by Kevin Seconds on the drums and managed to “hypnotize” Shanti Wintergate and a random audience member so they would dance the robot to one of his songs. He was great to listen to and even told a few good stories.
As soon as Kevin Seconds stepped up to the mic, it was apparent that he was just as comfortable singing as he is talking. There was definitely some punk rock still left under his rustic vocals, but his voice was honest and confident – a bit unexpected from the quiet, burly-bearded man in sweats and a t-shirt.
Greg and Shanti took to the stage last. Vocally speaking, these two are perfect together. They started their set with a song originally written by Shanti, but made famous by the Bouncing Souls on 2001’s album, How I Spent My Summer Vacation: “The Something Special”. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite Bouncing Souls songs and hearing it played acoustic with Shanti harmonizing with Greg gave the song a whole new feel.
Shanti played/sang a couple of her own songs with Greg backing vocals and also playing guitar. Her voice is really something else and pretty difficult to describe, other than to say that it’s simply incredible. Think Ella Fitzgerald with a bit of Norah Jones, and a bit more energetic – not even kidding. She also shreds a mean uke (see photo).
Speaking of ukuleles, Greg took over on uke duty for a minute so the two could rock a killer duet cover of legendary NYC hardcore band Sick of It All’s “Good Looking Out” (did I mention this was on the uke??). Typically a thrashing, fast-paced hardcore number, it was yet another great example of how a song almost takes on another meaning entirely by being played acoustic. As simple as it was, it was one of the more creative things I’ve seen done musically all year. Other highlights from Greg and Shanti’s set included acoustic versions of Bouncing Souls songs “Say Anything” and “Lean On Sheena”. Shanti threw down a few more of her own songs and a couple more on the ukulele to end their set.
To cap off the show, Kepi and Kevin came back out on stage with Greg and Shante. All four of the musicians traded instruments throughout a few more songs, and shared a fairly intimate moment with the tiny audience while they danced, sang, and laughed on stage. Judging by the smiles on the faces of almost everyone in the venue, I’d say a good time was had by all on the last stop of the foursome’s tour together.
Check out Greg Attonito’s solo stuff with Shanti (including the Uke cover of “Good Looking Out”!) here
They’ve also written a pretty awesome children’s book together: I Went For A Walk
To hear Kevin Seconds go here
Check out Kepi Ghoulie
And Shanti’s music can all be heard here: Shanti