Frenetic poet and soulful singer
Shoney Lamar’s a funny dude. In merely reading his writing, you get the impression that
he takes everything completely seriously—but without a grain of seriousness.
In casual conversation, the Boston-based singer-songwriter is overflowing with, “yeah, man” and “you got it, brother.” He asserts with complete earnestness that if he had access to an unlimited budget, he’d buy his parents’ house for them. Some of his song titles seem like downright goofy Tenacious D B-sides; “Idiots on the Escalator” and “Space Jam 3” make you crack a smile.
Until, that is, you give them a listen.
That’s when the true Shoney Lamar comes out, and he is one relentless guy. The latter of those two songs contains a verse that could act as a succinct mission statement for Lamar: “And if you pirate my shit / It’s not that I care so much / But fuck you, really, fuck you / Come over to my place / Do it to my face / But I love you, yeah, I love you.”
Lamar’s tracks sport some muddy garage-rock riffs, and each one seems to be imbued with a glorious, snarling anger, holding hands with true affection. When questioned on the topic, Lamar said,
“I am committed to saying things that other people won’t say.
The nasty shit people say behind closed doors, I like to say onstage. It’s cathartic. I get nasty in the art, so I don’t get nasty in real life. Things seem to go better when you’re nice to people.”
Though Lamar the man might just be a big softie with a mean streak a mile wide,
Lamar the artist is a different creature completely. His shows deftly combine his blistering music with his poetry into an experience unlike any this fine city can offer. Lamar’s upcoming set at Precinct is something like a victory lap for him. Though he’s supporting local bands Surprise Party, Subpar Co-Star, Coo & Howl, and E.P.S.,
the cake no one wanted.
As Lamar tells it, his poetry and his music are inextricably intertwined, twin expressions of a single voice. He moves freely between the two, alternating poems with songs, one after the other, in a powerful stream of consciousness. The sensibility echoed in his music comes through in his writing, with one significant difference: “Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, which is nice. But I write about myself and all the shit around me.
I’m obsessed with myself. I’m like Morrissey.”
Apart from this self-proclaimed self-obsession, Morrissey could not be further from Lamar. Where the former is gloomy, the latter is hyperkinetic. Where the Smiths frontman is preachy, Lamar is gleefully nihilistic. Where Morrissey is a “poet,” Shoney Lamar is a poet.
W/ SURPRISE PARTY, SUBPAR CO-STAR, COO & HOWL, E.P.S.
70 UNION SQ