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Local Live Act

The Shods

Goin' for broke

The Shods We're not saying it's impossible to dislike the Shods, just that you'd have to be sorely lacking in rock-and-roll spirit to do so. And it makes sense that they've won as Best Local Live Act for the second year in a row: as far as these guys are concerned, nothing beats a great night at a packed club where the beer flows, the crowd gets good and sweaty, and the band act like it's the last show they'll ever play.

If major-label deals were all that mattered, this band would have packed it in years ago: their contract (with Fort Apache/MCA) went south before the album even came out. But the Shods took the occasion to hit the clubs harder, make the next album (Bamboozled) all by themselves, and build their fan base. Everything came together on last year's Thanks for Nuthin' (Lunch), a timeless mix of pop hooks and punk drive. The disc strengthened the Shods' local influences: ex-Neighborhood David Minehan produced, the Lyres are echoed in the organ sound, the Real Kids get covered on one tune and name-checked in another. Instead of coming off like a throwback, it just proved that the Shods are -- for the time being, anyway -- the last of the great old-school Boston bands.

The band's already changed since the album's release, with Jay Buckley joining on keyboards and guitarist Mikah Smaldone replacing long-time member Dave Aronoff. The new sound is a little fuller on stage with the organ and harmonies; but the go-for-broke spirit hasn't changed a bit.

-- Brett Milano

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