Best Live Artist
The Blind Shake
Anyone who has witnessed a live performance by the Blind Shake can attest to their potency. The thunderous garage-punk trio is composed of brothers Jim and Mike Blaha and their cousin Dave Roper on drums, and every set they play has a raw urgency that's impossible to resist. Their guitar-fueled jams are vigorous and massive, with enough catchy riffs and unshakeable rhythms to make you forget any other rock bands exist at that moment. Rather than stay boxed in by one particular style or sound, the group continue to challenge themselves with each rapid-fire new release. They even recorded a sprightly surf-rock album with Swami John Reis of Rocket from the Crypt fame. That surprising and ultimately successful 2015 collaboration brought some buoyancy and levity to the Blind Shake's typically relentless sound, and Reis' sonic influence even carried over to their next LP, Fly Right, which has a retro West Coast tinge lingering under the walls of guitar squall. But no matter what song or style the Blind Shake offer up, they pummel you with it from the moment they take the stage, leaving little doubt as to who's the best live band in town.