If you've had your ear to the rails in the last few months of the local music scene, you've heard Shahs. If you were around a few years ago, during the heyday of Twin cities DIY venues, you saw Shahs.
But if you haven't, time is running out for you to get a glimpse of one of the most elusive, quixotic local bands in recent memory. Shahs is the solo project of Tom Helgerson, formerly of mathsters Thank You, and it was revived this summer after a hiatus of almost two years, and has beein saturating local bills ever since.
For the Twin Cities, it's all coming to an end on Tuesday evening--after a final local show tomorrow night at the Hexagon, Helgerson will be boarding an Amtrak to Missoula, where he'll take up with Vampire Hands singer Colin Johnson.
Helgerson spoke with Gimme Noise last night over cheeseburgers and beer. Head below the jump for more info.
For Helgerson, 2009 was a rough year. The economic collapse robbed Helgerson of a job, put him back at his parents' home in Brooklyn Center. It found him anxious to get out of the Twin cities, a place he'd lived almost all his life, and take a flyer on an adventure. After a relocation plan fell through just days before Helgerson was set to strike out for Texas, Helgerson knew it was now or never.
"I said 'fuck it,'" says Helgerson. "I've been meaning to get out of Minneapolis for a while.
What better time than now? Why the hell not?"
It's an interesting opinion in the face of the facts--in just a few months of activity, Helgerson has released two EPs, and is already at work on his full length, titled Dry Heat, Valley Low. His fan base has exploded thanks to tireless live performing. His music, a plumbing of melodic simplicity with loop pedal and Casio keyboard, was soaringly beautiful-- at once danceable and eerily moving. In the Twin Cities, Shahs can pretty much sit wherever he pleases.
But Missoula? Helgerson's never been there. Doesn't know a single street name. And its music scene, of which Helgerson has heard only whispers about house venues and a few bands, is an unknown property, one Helgerson plans to inflitrate with Shahs, and Secret Language, his collaborative project with Colin Johnson.
He's scared shitless, and admits it. but it's a necessary move, and the intrigue of the adventure outweighs his reticence to leave a music scene where the stock of his name is at an all time high.
"I think it's the perfect time to leave," he says. "I wanted over-saturation.Get it to the point where people didn't want to go see me anymore because I was playing every night." In a gesture, he dusts his hands, a gesture that seems to harken to Kaiser Soze's third act reveal. "And then," he says, "I'm gone."
Dry Heat, Valley Low has a planned release for March, and Helgerson is already thinking of his release plans. He and Johnson already have a split EP in the works, and Helgerson wants to tour Shahs as far as he possibly can.
For the immediate future, tomorrow's Hexagon show, a benefit for Planned Parenthood, will be your last chance to see him perform. The cause is good, and the price is right (read: FREE). The fact that Helgerson plans to stay gone means this really might be a do-or-die show for anyone who wants a taste before it's all gone.
Saturday, October 24. 21+. 9:00 P.M. Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Avenue, Minneapolis.