This past rainy Saturday we drove from San Diego up to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia to see a sort of last minute Shiny Toy Guns show. If you know anything about me you know I’ve been following this band since before their first album, We Are Pilots (2006) came out. We saw them perform right before their second album, Season of Poison (2008), was released. That was when Sisely Treasure was the female vocalist. She did a great job…but she was no Carah Faye.
Shiny Toy Guns is Carah Faye (vocals), Chad Petree (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Dawson (synth, bass) and Mikey Martin (drums).
The band started touring heavily even before their first self-released album came out in 2005 (We Are Pilots). It was later picked up by Universal (2006) and became a Grammy nominee that same year. They were touring like crazy, nonstop. That can wear on your relationships. Jeremy describes it here:
“We had been playing 300 shows a year, sometimes two a day, sometimes not even in the same city. When you’re living in a bus or airplane, you don’t have the ability to deal with real-life trauma. Things started to fester as we were robotically going through the motions. Nobody stopped us, nobody told us to take a break — we never dealt with our issues and the band broke down.”
Carah moved to Sweden, they snatched up Sisely Treasure, and made their second album, Season of Poison. I remember when the first two notes of Ricochet came on the radio, I immediately knew it was Shiny Toy Guns. I had been waiting so long! Then when Sisely started singing I knew it wasn’t Carah. But I was okay…I had my fix. A new STG album coming out soon. And it was a great one.
We Are Pilots will always be in my heart, those songs and I have been through a lot. But now Carah Faye is back. I’m not going to lie…when I first saw their little video of them announcing Carah’s return to the group…a tear snuck out. I felt like the world was okay again. And now they released their third album, |||.
It’s epic. It’s what should’ve been. It’s deep in my soul already. You can listen to it here and buy it here. I suggest you do both.
So now that we have a little background on this here little band…let me tell you how their show was on Saturday. They played between the races in the infield. There was a food truck festival, beer garden and KROQ was there entertaining us before STG came on stage. There were a number of people already waiting up by the stage a good hour or so before they were scheduled to go on. We could see Mikey, Chad, Jeremy and Carah back there, talking to people, laughing, Carah doing handstands, just hanging out. Race 6 happened, we all watched the horses barreling around the corner to the finish line. We made up funny names for the horses and acted like we were the announcers.
Then the band came out.
They played three sets of three songs each, all between races. A great mix of what’s on all three of their albums. They even played Major Tom, their cover of the 80′s song. Carah totally rocked it out, of course. Afterwards she tells us “That song is not hard to sing at all” Clearly it’s a tough song! But she nailed it.
Seeing her sing live was pretty amazing. She really knows how to get the crowd going, and flips her head around like nobody’s business! Chad singing and playing the guitar effortlessly was also pretty darn moving to watch. He really has an amazing talent, and I was so happy we got a chance to see this small, last minute show. Jeremy was crazy fun to watch, I was closest to him. I really heart that guy! Mikey was playing up front, too. I loved that…the entire band was front and center, no shoving the drummer in the back, no sir. This bands dynamic is clear. They belong together. And they are here to entertain. We are no longer waiting alone.
After their last song, Carah came out to hug the three little girls that were in the front row. Of course she did, she’s Carah Faye! She paid attention to them the entire show, and those girls were so happy. She started taking pictures with more people that were up front. This is when I made my move. Do you remember Mr Robot? I wore it on Saturday, in hopes to give it to Ms. Carah Faye Charnow. She (and the band) has been such a huge inspiration to me, and I felt she needed to know that. I made my way up there, gave her the necklace, told her nice things, and guess what? She loved it. And she genuinely thanked me and hugged me. She was exactly how I thought she would be. She happily stayed there and took pictures with and talked to every single person that wanted to. That’s how these guys are. They’re real.
Their tour starts in a mere week. Check out dates here. For those of you in Southern California, here’s a little hint…their home base is LA. Last minute shows come up often, so follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@shinytoyguns) Instagram and check their tour dates often! Sometimes it’s a full show. Other times a DJ set with Jeremy and Carah. In any case, you won’t want to miss them. Ever.