by Mario Martin
Some of the most eclectic musicians have hit stage at Shank Hall. Garbage played their second show ever at the venue and managed to play so loud they blew a few amps. In the audience were a handful of Butch Vig fanatics that comprised most of the roughly 50-person audience. Alanis Morrissette also played the stage (with then drummer Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters) before her sold out arena tours. Many more preceded and many more followed. Rachael Yamagata is soon to be in the same echelon as these artists.
A quiet setting surrounding the venue produces the right mood and atmosphere from the last time Rachael performed in Milwaukee at The Rave (opening for Gomez). Subtle yet inviting, Shank Hall’s sound system and décor remain the eye-candy while inside the club, as the feel and anticipation peak for opener Tom McRae after Cameron McGill’s Damien Rice-like crooning.
McRae’s most recent outing, Just Like Blood (Nettwerk) has served as a reassessment of music in the singer/songwriter genre as its popularity has surpassed his previous record which garnered him much acclaim. McRae even received the nomination for the Mercury Music Prize for his self-titled debut in 2001. Often compared to Bob Dylan and Nick Drake, McRae stands tall on his own laurels and gifts the audience a piece of his own self. Regardless the prestige of the nods by the press and even within the industry, McRae remains a humble figure accompanied by his guitar and his lovelorn voice that belt out some of the darkest lyrics a singer sedated by his craft can fathom.