Music festival in Jackson features young, local talent

Friday, June 25, 2004

It is safe to say that there is no shortage of musical performances to be found in the Cape Girardeau area during the summer. Municipal bands play weekly, bluegrass festivals are in full swing and wineries offer weekly live shows, not to mention live shows at downtown bars.

There are far fewer choices, however, for music lovers too young to get into over-21 shows who want to hear music performed by people their own age.

That is where Shellshocked comes in.

For the past two years, this music festival has been a showcase for young, local rock bands, and this Saturday the Jackson City Park's bandshell will again play host to the festival with Shellshocked 3.

This year's lineup includes Storefront, Echelon, The Intention, Ivanovic, MIG and Rubber Conductor.

Shellshocked originated when brothers Joe and Will Ettling and friend Josh Tomlin decided they needed a place their bands could play, realizing that other young bands were in the same position.

"We decided, yeah, let's do this," Tomlin said. "Even if nobody shows up, we'll have a good time and have somewhere to play."

And not many people did show up to the first year's show. By Tomlin's estimates, at the height of attendance there were about 50 people that showed up, including the band members.

"It was basically our friends and family that came, but it was a blast and everybody had a good time," Tomlin said.

Things had changed by Shellshocked 2, though, and the attendance about doubled. Not only that, but Steve Brooks, who runs the soundboard for the Jackson Municipal Band, volunteered to run the soundboard for the festival and Shivelbine's donated the sound system.

Despite its growth, Shellshocked stayed true to its do-it-yourself ethos, with band members helping set up the stage and prepare the food that was served for free.

This year promises much the same, although Tomlin said he expects a bigger turnout.

"There seems to have been a lot of buzz generated," he said. "Fans of this music are out there, if you just get good word of mouth going, you'll get these people to come out."

Punk, ska, metal, tranceThe musical genres represented at this year's Shellshocked include punk, ska, metal and trance.

Opening the show is Storefront, a band that has been in existence for almost a year and who list their influences as "progressive rock, classic rock, heavy metal and 8-bit Nintendo." This is Storefront's first major show, having only played basement shows before.

Echelon is one of the bands making a return to Shellshocked, having played last year's festival where they performed a distortion-filled cover of Tom Petty's "Free Falling."

Unlike the other bands in the line-up, The Intention have been performing regularly in Cape Girardeau since they formed in 2001.

Ivanovic is a band with members from Cape Girardeau and St. Louis that plays ambient music with an edge, like one of their influences, Mogwai.

MIG also played last year's Shellshocked and will be returning with their metal sounds.

Closing this year's Shellshocked is Rubber Conductor and it is likely to be the band's last show because of the band members' increasingly divergent personal lives getting in the way. "We've had a good run," Tomlin said. "If this is going to be our last show, then what better show to end it with."

The future of Shellshocked is also in question and for the same reasons, the festival's organizers have future plans that will take them outside the area. Since it began, Shellshocked has been put together on a year-to-year basis and that will continue, according to Tomlin, who will graduate from the University of Missouri next year.

Optimistically, Tomlin said he would like to see someone else take over Shellshocked so it could continue.

"I really hope some other kids will say, 'Hey, this is a really cool idea, let's not let it die,'" he said.

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