Vanity Plates Delivers Energy to Nausicaa

Vanity Plates.

Indie rock outfit Vanity Plates concluded Friday evening’s bill at Riverwest DIY venue Nausicaa, playing alongside southwest bands Yipee! and Neutral Shift, as well as Milwaukee poet and rapper Dave Kevin Adam.

Vanity Plates’ current lineup consists of vocalist/guitarist Alex Shah, bassist Jenna Pepitone, and drummer Shane Timm. Shah’s brother Palmer played guitar and sang with them for this show as well. It was Pepitone’s first show with the band.

“The original thought was that Palmer was gonna fill things out to put less pressure on her, and she was great,” Shah said.

The group’s debut album “You Want to Move” dropped almost a year ago, preceded by the single “Your Car.” Friday’s set included songs from that album, as well as new ones. Shah explains the project’s progression from then to now.

“When we wrote those songs, I honestly hadn’t written a song in over a year. I had another band called Ugly Brothers and we just kinda stopped playing together, and I kinda just wrote the songs out of nowhere. You can get that mood where most of the songs are about me being at home not really knowing what I’m doing with my life…like I’m older, but not really progressing. We recorded them without playing any live shows, so it’s interesting to take it from there where we already have an established band with a sound and work upon that. So we’re working out a new album and I think the songs make more sense for what we are as a band now; it’s a little more to the style I want to play instead of songs I just happened to write.”

Shah goes on to describe his songwriting influences.

“I listen to a lot of NPR politics podcasts. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my friends in their music…a lot of bands in the Milwaukee scene. I realized I’ve always kinda been writing punk songs but I just had a different genre with the same kind of aggression. But we’re trying not to tie ourselves down to anything. I try to write about things outside myself and I’m really bad at that. I usually don’t put a lot of effort into writing a song, it usually just flows.”

Vanity Plates play Cactus Club Sunday evening with Chris Porterfield and Peshtigo, as well as BBYS BBQ at Quarters Rock ‘n Roll Palace on May 25th.

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