Music Park: Sheer Mag @ Black Cat — 8/23/17

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Sheer Mag perform at Mohawk Place in Buffalo, New York, on April 3, 2016. (Photo by Brendan O’Connor)

If you didn’t know that Sheer Mag had only formed in 2014, and you heard their music, you might well think they were a classic rock band! If DC didn’t yet know Sheer Mag, the band introduced themselves in a matchless show at the Black Cat on Wednesday.


Everything from the guitar riffs to the vocals reminds me of a band on your favorite classic rock radio station — the kind of music you can put on the radio in the car and everyone will enjoy. It’s catchy while still remaining serious and heavy. Even their logo is something reminiscent of the ’70s or ’80s.

The Philadelphia natives took the main stage at the Black Cat last week as part of a tour that takes them all throughout the United States and into parts of Canada before ending in mid-October. Sheer Mag released Need to Feel Your Love, its first full-length record, earlier this year through Wilsuns Recording Company. The band consists of Tina Halladay (lead vocals), Kyle Seely (lead guitar), Hart Seely (bass), Matt Palmer, and Ian Dykstra (guitar). There was also a third guitarist playing with them, adding even more power to the music.

There are a lot of talented singers out there. To describe Tina Halladay as a “talented singer” would not do her justice. She has a voice that you cannot teach or learn. It’s a voice that you have to hear to fully appreciate so please check out some of the music below so you can see what I mean. It is such a gift and it is really enjoyable — whether the stupendous guitarwork on “Suffer Me,” the bluesy licks of “Milk and Honey,” or the threatening yet tuneful pop of “Expect the Bayonet” — all found on the debut record.

Tina didn’t say much to the crowd except to promote J20, a political organization developed around protesting the presidential inauguration. She seemed very serious but also very passionate while singing. I got the sense from watching her that she isn’t someone you would want to mess with. I could also tell that fans love her, and they expressed their appreciation throughout the night.

The rest of the band is just as solid. I was mesmerized by Hart’s bass playing at one point, and his brother Kyle’s guitar playing was just as good. Sheer Mag’s sound was tight and well-balanced — and I would imagine that record labels would sign them in an instant if the group wanted to go in that direction.

Sheer Mag is a band still in the early stages of its career. There is so much more to come for this group, and they will remain in my rotation of music. Make sure to look them up and see if you can find one of their shows nearby. They won’t wow you with their stage antics, funny jokes, or anything like that, but they will provide you with a sound that you will not hear anywhere else — guaranteed!

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